A Tale of Two Malls – Longmont’s Twin Peaks, Fort Collins’ Foothills and Eminent Domain

Mall revitalization is a common priority for cities in our region. Longmont and Fort Collins are both in the process of updating aging malls generating declining sales tax revenues. Both malls are part of urban renewal districts, making them eligible for tax increment financing (TIF) a tool that helps developers pay for public improvements associated with the projects.

NewMark Merrill Mountain States bought Longmont’s Twin Peaks Mall in February 2012. The company is moving quickly to create a plan to rejuvenate the shopping center. Dillard’s department store, which was part of the original mall and is still in operation, is part of the new plan for the site. Dillard’s parent company, which owns the store’s site, has agreed to work with developer NewMark Merrill as the project moves forward.

In contrast, the developer of Foothills Fashion Mall in Fort Collins, Alberta Development Partners, has not been able to negotiate an agreement with Sears Roebuck, which owns its space in the aging mall. The Sears building is considered an eyesore and it is rumored the store’s corporate owners have no interest in contributing towards any kind of renovation program. So, what is the developer to do? The City Council was to have considered a request to use eminent domain to force the issue this month, but that agenda item has been delayed until January. While eminent domain is certainly a possibility, no city wants to go through the process – and the bad PR – needed to acquire property.

Greeley would love to be in the same position as Longmont or Fort Collins but although its mall also sold earlier this year, there’s no word yet as to what the new owners want to do with the property. Boulder and Loveland are in a better position, with contemporary malls that draw shoppers from surrounding towns without similar shopping resources.

%d bloggers like this: