Don Sather expresses interest in Frisco land | SummitDaily.com
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Don Sather expresses interest in Frisco land

Lu Snyder

FRISCO – Don Sather doesn’t want a Super Wal-Mart in Frisco.

But unlike some Super Wal-Mart opponents, he isn’t against developing the 10-acre parcel behind Safeway that Wal-Mart officials have been eyeing for a Super store. In fact, Sather, the co-owner of the Big Horn Center in Silverthorne, is interested in developing the land himself.

“It’s fair to say we’ve got an interest in that parcel,” Sather confirmed Monday.

Sather, his wife, Betsy, and their partner, Charlie Cole of Basalt, are just beginning preliminary studies of the property. They’ll look at demographics, prospective tenants, design issues and “a combination of a lot of things (which) ultimately lead to economic justification,” Sather said.

He stresses that everything is preliminary right now, and they don’t have any concrete plans. But Sather said the commercial center they envision would not target specific business types – it would be “more general in scope.”

The three are proponents of environmentally friendly building and energy conservation, and Sather said they would want to incorporate those concepts into the new commercial center, if they develop the 10-acre parcel.

Meanwhile, the Frisco Town Council recently initiated the process to rezone the parcel in question, said Frisco community relations director Linda Lichtendahl.

The parcel was zoned for parks and recreation when the town bought the land from the school district, Lichtendahl said, though the town’s intent was “to use that space for some commercial development to protect the sales tax revenue base,” she said.

Before town officials can explore the various options available for development of the area, they must rezone the site to allow for commercial use. That process will involve two planning and zoning commission meetings and two with town council.

“The first thing that has to happen is the rezoning,” Sather said. “Without (that, council) really can’t even talk to the development community.”

But Lichtendahl said there is no guarantee the rezoning will be successful.

“Whenever something is placed before these elected bodies there’s the option that they may not be in favor of it,” she said.

Still, council members have asked staff to investigate the possibility of hiring an economic development consultant – to determine the cost of hiring a consultant, who’s out there and what kind of services they provide.

Again, it’s a preliminary study. And judging from the upcoming workload, Lichtendahl said it probably won’t happen for a while – maybe sometime this summer.

Once council members have a better idea of the role an economic development consultant would play in the development process of the 10-acre parcel, they would then seek proposals before choosing the consultant with whom they’d prefer to work.

All things considered, it will likely be several months before Sather will have a more detailed vision of what he’d like to build behind Safeway, and before town officials will be able to talk with him more seriously about the matter.

Town officials have spoken with several other developers aside from Sather, Lichtendahl said. And Wal-Mart officials are conducting their own economic studies evaluating the land for a Super store location.

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or lsnyder@summitdaily.com


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