FALCON MARKETPLACE FILE PHOTO

The Falcon Marketplace shopping center northwest of Woodmen and Meridian roads just outside Colorado Springs, where site preparation work was taking place earlier this year, has been purchased by a real estate company with several retail projects in Colorado. The new owner plans to move forward with the project, which will be anchored by a King Soopers grocery. RICH LADEN, THE GAZETTE

A real estate company with several successful retail projects in Colorado has purchased the financially troubled Falcon Marketplace shopping center outside Colorado Springs and plans to move forward with its development.

Evergreen Devco, with offices in Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, paid $1.4 million to buy nearly 20 acres of the Falcon Marketplace property northwest of Woodmen and Meridian roads in unincorporated El Paso County, according to county land records recorded last week. 

Evergreen bought the land from a limited liability company controlled by Leon Capital Group of Dallas.

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The deal doesn't include about 11 acres of Falcon Marketplace that were purchased in January by an affiliate of King Soopers, the grocery chain that plans to construct a 123,000-square-foot store to anchor the shopping center. King Soopers has targeted a 2022 opening.

Laura Ortiz, Evergreen's president and a managing principal, said via email that Evergreen "will continue moving forward with the planned Falcon Marketplace development." She couldn't be reached for additional comment.

Evergreen's purchase provides a lifeline for Falcon Marketplace, whose future was up in the air a few months ago.

In late spring, Leon Capital, a real estate development and investment firm that had taken over Falcon Marketplace from its original developer, halted stormwater and drainage upgrades and other site preparation work at the site.

Company officials told El Paso County commissioners in June that financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had forced them to stop work on several of their projects.

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Leon later resumed upgrades at the site, but only after county commissioners threatened to take over the work and use proceeds from a developer's bond to pay for it.

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's records show Evergreen provided a $1.5 million loan to Leon in late July, apparently to finance construction of improvements at the site.

Up to now, only utility work and dirt moving has taken place at the site; no buildings are yet under construction.

The project's original developer had said that Starbucks and a Panda Express restaurant were slated to join King Soopers at Falcon Marketplace. But it's unknown if Starbucks and Panda Express are still coming or what other businesses might be part of the shopping center under Evergreen's ownership.

Evergreen, a 45-year-old company, developed a shopping center southeast of Marksheffel Road and Constitution Avenue in unincorporated Claremont Ranch on Colorado Springs' east edge, which is anchored by a 124,000-square-foot King Soopers store that opened in 2017.

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The company also has developed shopping centers, single-use retail buildings and restaurants in Colorado and in other states, according to its website.

Evergreen expanded into multifamily development in 2011 and currently has several apartment projects in the Denver and Phoenix areas. It also has announced plans to tear down the vacant Sears store at the Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs and replace it with a 300-unit apartment complex.

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