Frisco 9.4-acre development: no ‘big gray box’ |

Frisco 9.4-acre development: no ‘big gray box’

FRISCO ” What would make Frisco better, not just bigger?

Frisco community development director Mark Gage posed that question to the town council Tuesday afternoon as the group took the latest step toward a retail development on 9.4 acres of town-owned land behind Safeway and the Frisco Transfer Center.

The council voted two weeks ago to allocate the land for retail use, despite outcry from dozens of citizens.

For the council’s review Tuesday, Gage developed a draft request for proposal (RFP) to solicit competing bids from developers interested in the property.

“Some people are opposed to retail development, but if you put a hardware store out there, it could enhance that area,” said town manager Michael Penny.

“We’re not looking for a big gray box or a strip mall with a restaurant,” he said.

“I’m excited about seeing what comes back, and then we can work with the neighborhoods and businesses in the area and react to what it is and decide what we want to do.”

The draft RFP contains several environmental, economic and esthetic guidelines to which potential developers must adhere in their proposals.

“Providing something that is an economic driver for the whole community is a fairly critical aspect of this whole thing,” Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen said. “We need something that’s going to cause a better business environment in the community.”

Many of the advisements closely reflect concerns that citizens raised over the impact retail development might have on the town’s character, small business vitality and area wetlands.

The document also asks developers to be “willing to coordinate and facilitate a series of public meetings with a designated citizens group to create a final development plan, as well as participate in numerous public outreach activities.”

Environmentally sustainable design standards will be among the selection criteria as the town reviews developers’ proposals.

“I think that makes a statement about our community. Part of what we could do is look at other communities ” Boulder comes to mind ” to see what standards they’re setting,” Penny said. “What are other communities pushing? What are they requiring?”

The draft RFP also encourages developers to “think creatively” about benefits they can provide to the community aside from a development’s contributions to the town’s sales tax revenues.

The town’s newly convened citizens’ economic development advisory committee is scheduled to review the draft RFP and make suggestions this afternoon.

A revised draft, with the committee’s suggestions included, will likely go before the council for approval in early March. Once the council approves the RFP, developers will have 90 days to submit proposals to the town.

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

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