This story has been updated with comments from a King Soopers spokeswoman.
A King Soopers store is planned for the upscale Flying Horse development on Colorado Springs' far north side, which would help fill a shopping void in a part of town where residents long have clamored for a full-service grocery.
King Soopers would anchor a nearly 21-acre shopping center southwest of Colorado 83 and North Gate Boulevard that's been proposed by the Barclay Group, a real estate development, management and investment company with offices in Phoenix and suburban Tampa, Fla.
Barclay representatives have submitted plans to city government officials that show a 123,000-square-foot King Soopers, a fuel station and a pair of 9,400-square-foot, multitenant retail buildings as part of the project.
Three additional lots would be targeted for future development; Barclay's website shows those sites might accommodate quick-serve restaurants.
King Soopers spokeswoman Jessica Trowbridge confirmed via email that the grocery chain plans to build a store and fuel center at Flying Horse. The store will employ 300 people and King Soopers estimates construction will begin in 2023, with completion in 2024, she said.
"This location will offer the community fresh, affordable and delicious food in a one-stop shopping location that meets the needs of today’s busy, health-conscious shopper," Trowbridge said.
A Barclay Group official said via email that the company liked the Flying Horse site because it's at the entrance to the sprawling development, while it's zoned for commercial use with good access.
At the same time, Colorado Springs is attractive because of its strong population growth and solid education, income and employment trends, the official said. The company has developed similar grocery-anchored retail centers in Arizona and Florida, among other states, its website shows.
The Barclay representative, who asked not to be identified by name, said he couldn't speak for King Soopers, other than to say it had interest in the Flying Horse location.
"They are the market leader with an excellent reputation, and a very good operator," the Barclay official said.
The project isn't a done deal; Barclay has requested city approval of a development plan for its proposed retail center, which spells out its size, land uses and other details.
Barclay has contracted to purchase the retail site from Classic Cos., one of Colorado Springs' largest homebuilders and the developer of the nearly 1,600-acre Flying Horse project, said Classic CEO Doug Stimple.
Flying Horse's master plan targeted the site for "community commercial" years ago, a classification that would include a grocery store, Stimple said. A smaller retail project — including a 7-Eleven, stores and restaurants — was developed in Flying Horse several years ago on the northwest corner of Colorado 83 and North Gate Boulevard.
Barclay is scheduled to complete its purchase of the Flying Horse site in the first quarter of next year, though it's possible the deal could be finished late this year, Stimple said. Developers typically hold off on completing land purchases until they clear government regulatory hurdles.
Since it was annexed by Colorado Springs in 2003 at Classic's request, Flying Horse has become one of the city's more prominent, high-end developments. It boasts some of the area's highest household incomes, six- and seven-figure homes, a golf course, The Lodge at Flying Horse boutique hotel, a private club, high-end steakhouse and other amenities.
Flying Horse now has about 2,200 residences and only about 100 homes sites remain, Stimple said.
Barclay's retail project and, in particular, the King Soopers store as shown on the company's submittal to the city, would be a key addition to Flying Horse, Stimple said.
For years, Flying Horse residents have asked when a full-service grocery would be built to serve the development, Stimple said. Residents of Northgate, InterQuest and other nearby neighborhoods also have occasionally emailed The Gazette to ask when a grocery might come to the Springs' far north side.
While specialty stores such as Sprouts Farmers Market and Natural Grocers have opened north-side stores, some area residents say they often drive to Monument to the north or a few miles farther east to find a full-service grocery.
Flying Horse residents have shown a preference for a King Soopers, Stimple said. The chain is part of the Cincinnati-based Kroger family of brands and has been a popular player for decades among groceries in the Pikes Peak region and in Colorado.
There are 11 King Soopers stores in the Colorado Springs area and two City Markets — another Kroger brand — in Woodland Park and Cañon City, the chain's website shows. King Soopers also recently started construction of a store in unincorporated Falcon, northeast of the Springs.
King Soopers' new store in Flying Horse — like the one under construction in Falcon and another that opened in August 2017 at Marksheffel Road and Constitution Avenue on the Springs' east edge — will be a Marketplace Store.
At 123,000 square feet, the Marketplace footprint is about twice the size of a typical King Soopers. In addition to full lines of groceries and household items, the Marketplace stores sell clothing, shoes, plates, dinnerware, kitchen and small appliances, housewares, towels and other home décor items.
"It kind of completes one of the missing pieces for this to be truly a neighborhood and a community where all services are available to you," Stimple said of King Soopers and the retail center coming to Flying Horse.
"With a grocery-anchored retail center, now you won't have to drive basically outside the perimeter of Flying Horse to get your groceries," he said. "It will bring other restaurants, it will bring other shops, it will have incremental pads that will be developed, that Barclay will develop for neighborhood services. And they'll probably, undoubtedly be a couple more restaurants, a few more neighborhood services, probably another gas station."