Breck City Market expansion eyed
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE ” As the build-out of Summit County’s open land edges ever closer, more eyes are looking toward the redevelopment of existing properties. In Breckenridge, that scenario could someday include a “lifestyle center” on the site of the current City Market shopping center on the north end of town, potentially with affordable housing units stacked atop an expanded grocery store and other retail facilities.
That, at least, was one of the things discussed at a December meeting of the town’s economic development advisory committee (BEDAC), when community development director Peter Grosshuesch told committee members that City Market has expressed at least a preliminary interest in expanding its store, but feels constrained by geographical limitations at the site (proximity to the Blue River) as well as by potential regulatory issues associated with town codes.
City Market and King Soopers spokesperson Trail Daugherty confirmed the company’s interest in expanding the Breckenridge store, but said it was too early to discuss details.
Several factors are driving the discussions, including prospective development of nearby properties, including the parking lots south of the City Market complex. Competition from other stores in the region is also part of the equation.
“There’s some concern City Market is losing customers to Safeway,” said Breckenridge spokesperson Kim DiLallo, referring to that supermarket’s recent remodeling, and its addition of more organic products. With the new gondola terminal in place, the entire north end of the town is under scrutiny, she added.
“It’s time to look at the big picture,” said Dick Bauder, who owns the 7.6-acre parcel where City Market is located. Bauder bought the property for $3.3 million in 1992.
Grosshuesch said there is about 78,000 square-feet of commercial space developed on the property, not counting the post office and the Loaf ‘n Jug. Up to 138,000 square-feet of commercial development are permitted under current zoning.
“I think (the BEDAC discussion) is an outgrowth of our becoming aware that the City Market is undersized for its business model, at least for Breckenridge,” Grosshuesch said.
Any proposal to expand the store and potentially add residential to the development mix would have to go through a lot of conceptual development at the outset, Grosshuesch said.
The key point right now is that the town is very interested in working with City Market and Bauder to make the best possible long-term use of the property, town manager Tim Gagen said. “It would be great to have an enhanced store,” Gagen said, explaining that City Market is a significant generator of sales tax for the town.
“Lifestyle center” is one of the latest buzzwords for developments that include both commercial and residential components. Boulder’s 29th Street Mall is one recent nearby example of such a project that was mentioned during the BEDAC discussions.
In most cases, though, lifestyle centers have evolved as a result of failed developments.
Bauder pointed out at the BEDAC meeting that the existing business model at the City Market shopping center is successful, so that any redevelopment would have to be carefully phased in to avoid disruption.
Some planners and architects also worry about what they call the “malling of America,” and the impacts of such large-scale development to small mom and pop and Main Street stores.
Blogging from Houston, social systems architect Tony Gattis cautioned that, unless they are carefully planned, lifestyle centers can exacerbate some of the problems they are meant to address by generating more traffic and the need for additional parking.
Gattis cites Naples, Fla., as an example, where an association of downtown Main Street merchants has taken issue with a lifestyle center that bills itself as an alternative “downtown.”
Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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