Updated: March 20, 2012 at 12:00 am
Several new stores and restaurants are on their way to University Village Colorado on North Nevada Avenue, one of the bigger flurries of retail activity at the Colorado Springs shopping center since its October 2009 opening.
The new retailers include a Petco store, a restaurant that’s expanding its local presence and two sitdown restaurants and a sandwich shop that are new to Colorado Springs.
While increasing the variety of businesses at the regional shopping center, the stores and restaurants are also expected to boost the long-term fortunes of the city’s financially troubled urban renewal project along North Nevada, which is relying on University Village revenues to pay off public improvements along the corridor.
“Certainly, the recession definitely slowed down our leasing efforts and things came to a screeching halt in the fall of 2008,” said University Village developer Kevin Kratt of Colorado Springs. “We are just now, in the spring of 2012, we’re now starting to ramp back up from a tenancy standpoint, which will obviously benefit the tax rolls.”
A Costco Wholesale Club, Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse and a Kohl’s department store anchor University Village, northwest of Nevada and Garden of the Gods Road. Panera Bread, Smashburger, Famous Footwear and BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse are among several other stores and restaurants that are part of the open-air center, which will be about 650,000 square feet — half the size of the Chapel Hills mall — when completed.
Construction of a 12,000-square-foot store Petco store will start in April, between Kohl’s and Famous Footwear, and the San Diego-based chain plans an October opening, said Kratt and John Winsor, a retail specialist with Olive Real Estate Group in the Springs and who markets the property.
Petco has four stores in the Springs; company officials didn’t return several phone calls.
“We consider it a junior anchor,” Winsor said of Petco. “With 650,000 square feet there, we wanted definitely to bring in a variety of tenants. They certainly fill a category for bringing in or providing another service for families.”
According to Kratt and Winsor, other businesses that are coming include:
• Hacienda Colorado, a Denver-based Mexican restaurant with four Denver-area locations, will open its first Springs location in an 8,500-square-foot free-standing building to be constructed at University Village’s center entrance. The two-story restaurant will include patio areas, fire pits, lounge areas and a rooftop food and bar area with mountain views. Construction will start around May 1, with an opening targeted for Oct. 1.
• Bonefish Grill, an upscale national seafood chain, plans to open a 4,500-square-foot restaurant in mid-June on the south end of an existing building along Nevada that houses Chipotle and others. It will be the first Springs location for Bonefish Grill, which has three restaurants in the Denver suburbs and one in Loveland.
• Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, a Texas-based sandwich chain, opened its first Springs location Tuesday in the same building that will house Bonefish Grill. Colorado Wich, a franchisee, plans to open a second Which Wich on North Academy Boulevard during the summer. Which Wich has 10 other Colorado locations.
• Il Vicino, the New Mexico-based Italian restaurant chain that’s had a downtown location on Tejon Street for about 15 years, is targeting a late June opening for a second, 3,000-square-foot location at University Village.
• Cable giant Comcast this week opened a 5,300-square-foot Xfinity store for customers — a retail center similar to an Apple store, which allows Comcast customers to test and learn about the company’s latest products and services.
Nevada, between Garden of the Gods Road and Interstate 25, was home to shabby motels and light-industrial businesses when the Springs City Council declared the area an urban renewal site in late 2004. University Village was envisioned as an economic engine to generate tax revenue to pay off about $55 million in corridor improvements.
But the city’s Urban Renewal Authority defaulted on a portion of those bonds in December, after a slowdown in shopping center leasing and construction led to sales tax revenues falling below projections. The authority now is exploring whether it will approach bondholders in an effort to restructure that debt.
Chuck Miller, a retired city planning official and an Urban Renewal Authority consultant, said the addition of stores and restaurants in a struggling economy is a good sign. The shopping center is about 75 percent complete.
“These new folks are not going to completely solve the (authority’s) revenue problem, because we know that in order to meet revenue projections, the whole center has to be built out,” he said. “This won’t complete the buildout of the center, but I think it’s going to add a significant percentage increase to the revenues that we get. It’s the beginning of solving our current problems.”
• Comcast Xfinity store.
• Max Muscle nutrition store
• Johannes Hunter Jewelers
• Which Wich
• Hacienda Colorado restaurant
• Bonefish Grill restaurant
• Il Vicino restaurant
DEVELOPERS IN TALKS WITH:
• Dunkin’ Donuts
• Panda Express
• Veda Salon and Spa
• Panera Bread
Source: Gazette research
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