Tenants wanted on west end of Frisco Main Street
summit daily news
FRISCO – Just like Horace Greeley’s exhortation of manifest destiny, part of Main Street’s future lies in a series of new buildings at the west end of town.
Last fall’s economic slump slowed efforts to bring new tenants to the area, but a key west end developer said interest is starting to pick up again.
“We’re talking to a number of people, but it’s confidential until we sign somebody up,” said developer Tom Hallin, who owns the Alpine Natural Foods building at 301 West Main St., as well as the adjacent new buildings leading toward the Interstate 70 on-ramp.
Hallin said increasing sales at Alpine Natural Foods show the potential for commercial activity in that part of town.
“Sales at Alpine have been up every month this year,” Hallin said last week, while enjoying a sandwich from the popular deli. With easy access from
I-70, the store sees many customers from outside town, including Vail and Beaver Creek, Hallin said. That same accessibility should help boost business for other retail and professional businesses when they open in the new buildings, he added.
SE Group, an international resort consulting company, recently moved out of the Alpine Natural Food building into bigger digs in the new structure next door. Hallin said that he’s talking to potential tenants for three of the six vacant commercial slots.
Hallin hopes to see a new pizza place open up in the old A-Train location, and envisions a high-end liquor and wine store opening in one of the other open spots. A specialty retailer, featuring outdoor gear, is another likely use for some of the commercial space available, said former Frisco planning commission member Mark Sabatini.
For Frisco community development director Mark Gage, the growth into the west end is a long-term prospect. Gage said the economy will be a significant factor affecting the pace of commercial expansion on Main Street.
Hallin acknowledged that the economic slowdown last fall affected efforts to get new businesses to open up, but like Gage, he takes a long-term view. Both agreed that building a local population base is key to generating sustainable commercial activity in the area. Additionally, the residential base just off Main Street, in the Creekside area, will help fuel activity along the west end, they said.
Gage said the town did its part to spur activity with an extensive re-modeling of the west end streetscape, adding parking, landscaping and giving the area a more walkable feel.
Some of the challenges include perceived gaps in the commercial frontage, with a few residential properties and undeveloped lots creating a break between the bustling core east of Madison.
“I’ve always looked at West Main as its own node within the community,” said architect Tom Connolly, current chair of the Frisco planning commission. The remake along West Main sets the stage for commercial activity, Connolly said, referring to the new look as well as some other tweaks to development codes in the area.
“We’ve given developers an opportunity to create retail and commercial … The mechanisms are there to have great properties for developers,” he said.
“All we can do is put the tools out there,”said Gage. “It would be nice to see some lights on.”
“The town is not without the ability to help,”said Hallin, explaining that better signage off I-70 and some sort of striking entry feature could help stimulate activity on the west end.
“It would be nice to get a ‘Historic Frisco’ sign on the highway,” he said.
Hallin said Littleton recently has had good success with a concept called economic farming. In the Front Range community, government has taken an active role in helping existing businesses grow.
He said the government more than recouped its investment in sales tax revenues.
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