Breckenridge City Market ‘really close’ to expansion, landowner’s attorney says
October 31, 2018
The town of Breckenridge, a private landowner and the owner of City Market are closing in on a three-way development agreement that could soon lead to an expansion of the town's biggest grocery store.
Breckenridge Town Council has been pushing for an expansion of City Market for some time now, and recently commissioned a needs assessment study to help propel the idea forward.
Because of the grocery store's oft-crowded aisles and long checkout lines, many locals have simply avoided shopping there during peak times. With town council unanimously supporting a proposed development agreement on first reading last week, however, it looks as if those customers could soon see relief.
"The development agreement is the first step, but there are other agreements that need to be put in place, such as an amendment of City Market's lease," said attorney Kent Willis, representing Ofpers Partners, owner of the Parkway Center property and landlord for its tenants.
One of those tenants in the shopping complex at 400 N. Park Ave. is City Market, which is owned by Kansas-based Kroger subsidiary Dillon Companies.
Willis said City Market's representatives have spearheaded negotiations with the town thus far, and the landowner only learned of the proposed development agreement about 10 days ago. The attorney said he and his client are still getting up to speed on all the details, but they hope to make a decision on the proposed agreement by sometime next week.
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"We're really close," he said of reaching an agreement. "It's just that there are details we need to make sure that, as the landlord, are workable for us."
The proposal describes a roughly 10,000-square-foot expansion, which would increase the size of the grocery store by about 17 percent. To make this happen, Breckenridge would turn over seven commercial SFEs — or density units equal to about 1,000 square feet each — for the construction of roughly 6,500 square feet of additional grocery store space.
Another 3,500 square feet of extra space for City Market would come with the grocery store absorbing existing commercial units inside the shopping center to the south. As a safeguard, the proposed agreement mandates that any density provided by the town would be solely for grocery items and forbids things like furniture sales.
After raising the price of transferable density units early this year, the town's contribution of seven units of transferable density rights would essentially amount to over a half-million dollar gift for the expansion project. Given the situation, town council is ready to make that deal.
"This is what council should give commercial density for — when it's a community need like this," said Councilwoman Wendy Wolfe, a leading advocate for such an expansion. "We do it for other community needs, and I think this is no less a community need in our town."
The density would come from a pool of unused developable density tied to a number of town-owned properties. Exactly which one or ones might give up the seven units for City Market has not yet been decided, according to town planners familiar with the proposal.
Council is expected to vote on the development again for second reading on Nov. 13. If signed by all three parties, the agreement would have a shelf life of one year to get the project off the ground.
While the proposal describes how the store might grow, exactly what City Market could do with that space has yet to be seen.
Town staff said the additional space would go up on the back of the building, leaving the parking lot largely unaffected, but no plans have been submitted yet.
"At this point, City Market has not really told the landlord what its intended uses on the inside of the building will be," Willis said.
Wolfe was adamant the town wants more grocery in the deal, but she expressed some hope City Market could use the additional room to add to the pharmacy, too. Willis said he doesn't know if that will happen.
"At this stage, they're concentrating on expanding the building," Willis said.
Reached via email Wednesday, a spokesman for Kroger hinted at what that might mean: "We are excited about the expansion of the Breckenridge City Market. The expansion will allow for more added conveniences as well as more product selections. Our goal is to make this as seamless as possible for our customers."