And then there were two |

And then there were two

summit daily news
Summit Daily/Kristin SkvorcHome Depot and BigHorn Center Partners are in competition for the opportunity to develop Frisco's 9.4-acre parcel. Wal-Mart's ducking out of the process raises questions about the store's future in the town.

FRISCO ” Home improvement may be headed for the ballot in Frisco.

Only two applicants ” Home Depot and BigHorn Center Partners ” submitted development proposals by the July 1 deadline in the town’s call for retail project ideas.

Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Alberta Development, all of whom the town council also invited to apply, chose not to enter the competition.

“Preliminary review of (BigHorn partner) Don Sather’s and Home Depot’s projects shows we have two viable proposals to put before the community and the council,” town manager Michael Penny said.

In the coming weeks, the two finalists will present their projects to the town council, the general public and the town’s economic development committee in hopes of earning the chance to go before voters on Nov. 1.

Home Depot hopes to maximize coverage of the site with a home improvement store, whereas BigHorn’s Don Sather would develop about a quarter of the land as an Ace Solutions store and work with other developers to include other smaller-scale retail and affordable housing.

Wal-Mart’s decision not to continue its pursuit of the property for a Wal-Mart Supercenter hinged on the town’s request for environmentally sensitive development and on the “gamble” of having to take the project to the ballot box.

The retail giant’s departure from the applicant pool raises the question of how long Wal-Mart ” and its sales tax dollars ” will remain in Frisco.

In the company’s formal request for consideration in the spring, officials said the existing store “is no longer economically viable to operate in today’s retail market. Our new larger format stores, with larger aisles, a full line of groceries and a wider selection of merchandise, are much more efficient in serving the needs of today’s customer, especially in a mountain community such as Frisco.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 203 or

“I regret to inform you that Wal-Mart has declined to submit a proposal in response to Frisco’s RFP for the 9.4-acre parcel owned by the town.

“Although Wal-Mart remains interested in expanding its presence in Summit County, a thorough evaluation of the RFP process reveals that Wal-Mart’s further participation is not economically feasible.

“Several factors, including the requirement for affordable housing, for a “green” or LEED-certified building, the presence of wetlands on the site and the election process following city council approval, combine to make participation an expensive gamble for Wal-Mart.

“As mentioned, Wal-Mart remains interested in this market area, and should circumstances change, or the current RFP process not produce a viable project, we would look forward to working with the town to discuss potential alternatives. As you know, Wal-Mart’s ability to expand on its current site is limited, and we will continue to seek opportunities to better serve the Summit County market. We have enjoyed working with the town throughout this process, and in developing our current store, and hope this relationship can continue into the future.”

“Roger Thompson, manager of real estate, Wal-Mart

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