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Big boxes survive the first cut

JULIE SUTOR
summit daily news
Special to the DailyHome Depot emerged at the top of the applicant list among developers interested in the
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– Last we knew: Six prospective developers, including Lowe’s and Wal-Mart, formally expressed interest in the 9.4-acre parcel. The town’s citizens economic development committee ranked the six in order of preference, with Home Depot landing at the top of the list.

– The latest: The Frisco Town Council shaved one developer, the Cornerstone Group, off the list.

-What’s next: The remaining five developers will have the chance to create more detailed competing proposals to present to the council and the greater community.

FRISCO ” The short list didn’t end up that short.

Frisco council members set out Tuesday to narrow the list of prospective 9.4-acre parcel developers, but they only shaved one off the list, leaving Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Alberta Development and BigHorn Center Partners to compete in the next round.

Six applicants had submitted preliminary proposals to build retail commercial developments on the town-owned land behind Safeway and Wal-Mart.

“I’d like to let this process play out in the most competitive environment possible,” Councilmember Bill Pelham said.

The five finalists will all have the chance to create and submit detailed development proposals to the council and the greater community this summer.

Then, the council may select its favorite project and place it on the town ballot for voter approval.

During Tuesday afternoon’s discussion, several council members applauded Home Depot’s efforts to tailor its proposal to the needs of the town.

“To me, the Home Depot proposal came out looking really tall,” Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen said. “They stepped up and offered a lot of community benefits. The other attractive thing was the site plan and layout, which was pretty innovative, creative and different than anything we’ve seen here.”

In Home Depot’s proposal, the company offered its resources to assist with affordable housing and recycling efforts in the community. And the project’s design would incorporate environmentally sustainable features for energy use and materials.

“The development of Frisco Junction is an opportunity for our team to help dispel the stereotype of the traditional large retail building that consumes resources and is environmentally insensitive,” the proposal reads.

Some on the council expressed concern that the multiple-outlet project proposed by Alberta Development would pose the greatest competitive threat to smaller businesses, including those on Main Street.

They felt that a single, large retail store would create less direct competition. Nevertheless, the council didn’t knock Alberta from the list.

Wal-Mart’s proposal to move out of its existing location in the Frisco Station shopping center and into a future Wal-Mart Supercenter on the 9.4-acre parcel left the council with questions about the fate of the two largest spaces now at Frisco Station.

Wal-Mart has proposed marketing its current space (about 70,000 square feet), with an eye toward home improvement retailers. There was some concern among officials that the grocery component of the Supercenter might jeopardize Safeway.

Wal-Mart’s proposal asserted that its existing space is no longer economically viable in today’s retail market and that expansion at the current site isn’t feasible.

Don and Betsy Sather of BigHorn Center Partners submitted a preliminary proposal for a two-acre hardware and home goods Ace Solutions store. Council members applauded the proposal’s ambitious environmentally friendly design, but wondered at the fate of the parcel’s remaining seven acres.

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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