10-acre study: Retail development wouldn’t hurt Frisco’s Main Street | SummitDaily.com

10-acre study: Retail development wouldn’t hurt Frisco’s Main Street

FRISCO – Opponents of a new shopping center on Frisco’s 10-acre publicly owned parcel didn’t get much help from a new study by BBC Consulting’s Ford Frick.Frick, a well-known, resort-area economic consultant, has been studying various development options for the “10-acre parcel” – affordable housing, a retail center, open space, a multiuse conference center, a college campus and recreation amenities.Frick’s analysis, which he presented to the town council Tuesday, asserted “retail development at (the) 10-acre site will not hurt downtown if it serves a different market purpose.” Technically, the site is 9.4 acres, but goes by the working title of the “10-acre parcel.”The town hired Frick in June after many residents and business owners objected to a proposed retail development on the town-owned plot. The project’s opponents feared it would compromise Frisco’s mountain-town character and siphon cash from Main Street merchants.”There’s no question this is a valuable retail site,” Frick said. “There could certainly be modest competition (with downtown), but you have enough models that say we could do retail out here and not significantly impact downtown.”Frick said the key is attracting retail businesses – including chain stores – that don’t directly compete with Main Street. He acknowledged that would conflict with many residents’ ideas of what the town’s character should be.But he warned that the more a retail development incorporates Frisco’s small, mountain-town feel, the greater threat it would pose to Main Street.”If you build something like the downtown – mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly – you’ll compete with the downtown,” Frick said.Frick showed a clear lack of enthusiasm for a few of the six options he studied, including a multiuse conference center and recreation amenities.He said that a conference center would require millions in capital costs and ongoing marketing and operations costs for the town, while the benefits would disperse throughout the county.”Conference centers are complicated: The market is complicated, the building is complicated and the public financial support is complicated. My fear is that the economic benefit would scatter to the rest of Summit County. This will not pay for itself,” Frick said.The 10-acre parcel has emerged as a top option for Colorado Mountain College leaders as they explore sites for a possible new campus in Summit County, but Frick advised council members to approach the idea with caution.”The site is functional, but CMC is not ready to commit. It could be five years, and we don’t know where the money is going to come from,” Frick said.Frick said the parcel is well situated for developed recreation, but that the Peninsula Recreation Area is a superior location because of its larger size and established recreation plan. He also noted that retail development on the 10-acre site would boost annual sales tax revenues by $1.21 million, which “could build the peninsula plan.”Frick said that leaving the site as open space would support a lower-density character and would require minimal costs, but that the site “doesn’t appear to have valuable wetlands or environmental qualities that leap out for protection.”Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 203 or jsutor@summitdaily.com.

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