Mon July 23, 2012

Foothills Mall Could See New Push For Redevelopment

The July 2nd purchase of the Foothills Mall by Colorado-based Alberta Development Partners has brought a renewed interest to turn the facility into an economic and cultural driver for Fort Collins.

Built in 1973, Foothills was once home to large anchor stores including Denver Dry Goods, May D&F and Sears. It’s now full of many empty storefronts. According to the blog DeadMalls.com, which gives a thorough history of the once “dominant mall of Northern Colorado"; the mall is, 

The Foothills Fashion Mall,1974.
Credit Fort Collins Museum / The Fort Collins History Connection

“literally –half dead, the best days of its life are clearly behind it.”

However, the mall’s new owners are seeking to change that. And they've had success at transforming other outdated malls including the Southglenn Mall in Littleton, which was razed to build the ‘Streets at Southglenn’ which opened in 2009.

A New Multi-Use Concept For Foothills Mall?

The Foothills Mall is what some have called a ‘traditional mall.’ A completely enclosed structure with large anchor stores and food courts. This concept has fallen out of favor with the general public, and developers are now trending toward building multi-use centers, much like the downtown of a small city.

In these new ‘lifestyle centers,’ residential, retail, and business all mix together to form a place people can work, live and play.  A good example of this concept is Belmar in Lakewood. That project has transformed the city’s center, and become a vibrant economic driver for the community.

It may take years for the Foothills Mall to see any major reconstruction or economic benefit from a redesigned layout. But it appears that based on past history and artists renderings, Alberta Development may use a lifestyle center concept when redeveloping the Fort Collins mall.

Foothills Isn’t The Only Mall Struggling

Many of Colorado’s traditional malls have been on life support in recent years. In Greeley, The Greeley Mall has also been trying to regain its former glory. In March, it was announced the mall sold at auction for just 6.1 million dollars, a fraction of its reported 2006 value of 41 million dollars.

The new owners of the Greeley Mall, based out of Nevada, have yet to officially announce if there are any revitalization plans. However, Greeley's Economic Development Manager Bruce Biggi says the city is hoping the owners develop a multi-use project .

“Which hopefully would contain any number of mixed uses. Retail, commercial, office, housing, whatever elements make sense in a re-development effort.”

According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Alberta Development will be meeting with city leaders in Fort Collins on August 8th to discuss future redevelopment plans for the Foothills Mall. And Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry says while no official timeline has been given for the completion of the mall's redesign, developers are “shooting for the 2014 holidays.”

UPDATE 2:56: In a statement to KUNC, Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry says the redevelopment project is a big deal for the city, and he's excited about it becoming a reality.

“As a City we’ve been working really hard to support redevelopment of the Foothills Mall; it’s rewarding to see it happening.  The new developers recognize the potential of this site and they recognize the value of the Fort Collins community. I believe they are genuinely excited to be a part of this project. I understand the details are still yet to be determined, but I’m confident that when this redevelopment happens, it will undoubtedly meet our community’s expectations.  I’m looking forward to the day when we can celebrate a brand new, completely updated, premier shopping facility in midtown Fort Collins, because that’s what this community so clearly deserves.”