Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Retail development ramping up at Powers-Dublin intersection

RICH LADEN Updated: May 18, 2012 at 12:00 am

Restaurants, big box stores and shopping centers have become as common as traffic signals at key intersections along Powers Boulevard, on Colorado Springs’ east and northeast sides.

But as Powers has evolved into a top retail destination over the last 15 years, the intersection of Powers and Dublin boulevards has been slow to take shape. That’s changing quickly, however, as development catches up at the intersection.

A Burger King opened this year, joining a Taco Bell, Kwal Paint and a Smudge Dog and Car Wash southwest of Powers and Dublin. Dion’s, a New Mexico-based pizza restaurant, and a locally owned convenience store called the Snack Shack are targeting a fall opening on the southwest corner.

A Colorado Springs family that owns two miniature golf complexes plans a third northwest of Powers and Dublin, to be called the Legends Miniature Golf and Batting Cages. And owners of property on the southeast corner are moving forward with plans that could include restaurants, a convenience store and perhaps an apartment complex.

Until now, retail and commercial development along Powers mostly bypassed Dublin. Development began farther south near Platte Avenue and Palmer Park Boulevard about 30 years ago. It picked up steam in the last decade, especially with the development of shopping centers at the intersections of Constitution Avenue, North and South Carefree Circle, Barnes Road, Stetson Hills Boulevard and Woodmen Road.

The Dublin intersection, however, was kind of a “tweener,” said Jim Spittler, a broker with NAI Highland Commercial Group. Retailers with multiple locations like to have a certain distance between operations, and Dublin was too close to Woodmen and other intersections along Powers, Spittler said.

Ed Lohman, developer of the property southwest of Powers and Dublin and manager of a limited liability company that owns the ground, said development often moves in a natural direction, and it’s been gradually heading north toward Dublin. The poor economy of the past few years slowed that progression, he said.

”Sometimes it’s a fast pace, and sometimes, because of the economy, it’s a slow pace,” Lohman said.

The presence of the St. Francis Medical Center at Powers and Woodmen, a planned American Furniture Warehouse south of that intersection and more residential development to the east will help spur development at Powers and Dublin, said Jack Mason, a commercial broker with Grubb & Ellis/Quantum Commercial Group in Colorado Springs who’s marketing the intersection’s southeast corner.

“This intersection, we’re approaching its time now.”

Here’s a look at some of the projects envisioned for Powers and Dublin:

• Dion’s, which has 15 locations in New Mexico and two in Texas, will break ground on its first location in Colorado on May 30, and hopes to open in early November, said company president Doug Morse. The chain is an order-at-the-counter, sit-down restaurant; it doesn’t deliver, but does offer pick-up service. Dion’s has looked at the Springs for several years and likes its size and quality of life, Morse said. The Powers-Dublin intersection offers high-traffic volumes and is near rooftops. Dion’s likes to be near neighborhoods, and not where the large chains locate, he said.

• Legends Miniature Golf and Batting Cages probably will open in spring 2013, said Steve Hittle, who heads the Springs family that also owns Adventure Miniature Golf and Batting Cages near Interstate 25 and Woodmen and Hitt’s Miniature Golf near Academy Boulevard and North Carefree Circle.

• The Snack Shack, which will include a Pita Pit restaurant, a liquor store and fuel pumps, hopes to open in mid- to late October, said Mark Whitmoyer, vice president of the family owned company that is developing the convenience store.

• Owners of the southeast corner, whom Mason described as local investors, haven’t submitted a proposal to city planners, but are moving forward with concepts for the 29-acre, southeast corner, Mason said. An apartment complex could go on the far east side of the property, while seven standalone buildings — known as pad sites — and more retail development are possible.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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