Colorado Springs' biggest retail complex is getting even bigger.

A nearly 12,000-square-foot, single-story retail building is under construction at the First & Main Town Center on the city's east side, with completion expected by Thanksgiving, said Fred Veitch, a vice president with Nor'wood Development Group of Colorado Springs, the center's developer.

The building is going up east of the Rock Bottom Brewery and near the Cinemark movie theater complex in the central portion of the shopping center, southeast of Powers Boulevard and North Carefree Circle.

A Hallmark Gold Crown greeting card store and Verizon Wireless will occupy two of the building's storefronts, Veitch said. Nor'wood is working on letters of intent with two other users, although he declined to disclose their names.

The Colorado Springs-area's shopping center vacancy rate of 12.2 percent in the first quarter was roughly double what it was before the start of the last recession, according to Turner Commercial Research in the Springs.

Even so, 'there's additional demand from retailers to be part of the First & Main Town Center complex, ' Veitch said. 'We're responding to additional retail requests to build space. The center continues to do well. '

Nor'wood began developing First & Main in 2000, along Powers Boulevard, a major north-south highway on the Springs' east side. As the city has grown to the north, northeast and east over the last 20 years, and with thousands of rooftops in nearby developments such as Stetson Hills, Springs Ranch and Briargate, Powers has become arguably the city's top retail corridor. As a result, centers such as First & Main have flourished.

With the addition of its nearly 12,000-square-foot building, First & Main will have about 1.4 million square feet of space, which makes it larger than both The Citadel and Chapel Hills malls.

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First & Main is getting close to being completed, Veitch said, although a few retail sites remain in areas south of Cinemark and near Dick's Sporting Goods.

'We're nearly done, ' he said.

First & Main's mix of anchors and smaller retailers, restaurants and entertainment uses include Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Super Target, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, Whole Foods, Cinemark, Old Chicago and Tucanos Brazilian Grill.

Among newer users, a Utah-based franchisee is bringing the area's first Kneaders Bakery to First & Main; it's being built just north of the new retail building and is targeted to open in August.

An 82-room Holiday Inn Express is near completion just north of Cinemark, while a 315-unit apartment complex is under construction at North Carefree Circle and Tutt Boulevard.


Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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