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Outlets exceed expectations in 2005

NICOLE FORMOSAsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk
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SILVERTHORNE – Propelled by a renovation project that is exceeding revenue expectations, the Outlets at Silverthorne is inching closer to the success it saw before a national economic downturn in 2001, and is padding the town’s pocketbook along the way.In 1998, the Outlets contributed an all-time-high 43 percent to the town’s overall sales tax collections, according to Silverthorne finance director Donna Braun. In the following years, however, the numbers decreased, hitting a low in 2003 when revenue from the stores supplied 28 percent to the town’s budget. In 2004, contributions rose slightly to 29 percent, then rebounded to 32.6 percent in 2005.Last year, the first phase of a multi-million dollar remodel project was completed in the Blue Village, sprucing up the village’s appearance and ultimately attracting seven new stores to that portion of the three-village mall.”Once they opened probably half the new stores in March, several of them really performed greater than we ever anticipated,” Braun said.For example, Polo Ralph Lauren opened its doors in the Blue Village in mid-March and less than eight months later registered as the third-highest sales tax generator in the town, Braun said.”They’ve been definitely one of the success stories. I know their corporate is pleased, I know Coach has been extremely pleased,” said Outlets manager Rob Goodell.

The Gap, which is in the Red Village, pulled in the fifth-highest sales tax numbers for the town in 2005, while the Nike store in the Blue Village ranked seventh.By the end of 2005, the Blue Village had doubled its sales tax collections from 2004, bringing $545,189 into the town’s coffers. The success in the revamped village, as well as increases in the consumer retail category that includes top-producer Target, and the building retail category helped generate $7 million in sales tax revenue in 2005, setting a new record for Silverthorne, Braun said.Overall the town collected $155,000 more in sales tax than it budgeted for 2005. The unexpected growth helped the town replace some of the 10 positions it left unfilled during a budget crisis in 2002 and 2003. The town also boosted its noxious weed budget in 2006 and has trail improvements and a new pedestrian bridge planned around the Outlets. What about the other villages?

While the Outlets’ Blue Village has been the picture of prosperity, its yet-to-be-renovated counterparts, the Red and Green villages, have fallen behind. In 2005, revenues in the Red Village, which is home to stores such as the Gap and Tommy Hilfiger, fell 7.7 percent from 2004, while sales tax collections in the Green Village dropped 8.3 percent.Ten units between the two villages are empty, while the Blue Village is fully occupied.Earlier this month, a redesigned Dress Barn reopened in the Green Village, and in late February, an Old Navy clothing store opened as an anchor, both of which could provide some much-needed momentum.”As soon as (Old Navy) opened, the traffic counts (in the Green Village) went up by 30 percent,” Goodell said, adding that the counts were up 40 and 50 percent on select days.The Green Village is next in line for a full renovation of its signs and architectural elements, which could begin in the next couple of weeks, Goodell said. The timeline for similar work on the Red Village has not been set.While he can’t predict how the mall will fare in 2006, Goodell said the Outlets’ new owner, Craig Realty Group, is devoted to keeping the standard of amenities and services very high in all of its properties.

The California company bought the stores in November 2005 and also owns the Outlets at Loveland and Castle Rock, as well as outlet centers in six other states and in Italy.If January’s sales tax numbers are any indication of the rest of 2006 – collections at the Outlets were up 54 percent from 2004 – it could be another banner year.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com.


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