5:01am

Thu August 15, 2013
Business Report

Longmont Mall Redevelopment Delayed By Condemnation Dispute

A dispute over proposed redevelopment of the Twin Peaks Mall in Longmont has pitted the developer and the city against a longtime retailer.

The city filed for condemnation of the Dillard's property in May, after more than a year of negotiations failed to yield an agreement. Under Colorado law, authorities can condemn property that’s in an urban renewal district and considered blighted, if the two sides can’t agree on a price.

Boulder County Business Report publisher Chris Wood says Dillard’s and the city are pretty far apart on what they think is a fair price for the 94,000 square foot property.

"The city earlier this year had offered to buy the Dillard’s property for $3.6 million dollars, while Dillard’s had requested $5 million dollars," Wood says. "An appraisal that the city conducted in November came in at $3 million."

The disagreement has put the brakes on the redevelopment project for now.

Wood says a ruling could come Monday about whether the city of Longmont can condemn the property through eminent domain. If the ruling favors the city, the judge could rule on if the city could take title by Oct. 1, 2013. That’s a condition of financing for the mall redevelopment -- and supporters say anything later than that could result in prospective tenants canceling their leases.

Interview highlights

What prompted the city to take the seemingly drastic step to condemn the property?

"It is drastic, but we see it from time to time in Colorado. Under the state’s urban renewal law, an urban-renewal authority can condemn property that’s in an urban-renewal district and considered blighted, if the two sides can’t agree on a price. That’s the battle that’s ongoing, with the city filing for condemnation of the 94,000-square-foot Dillard’s property in May, and with attorneys for Dillard’s filing their closing statement on Monday."

What is Dillard's argument against condemnation?

"Dillard’s argues that the blighted nature of the mall could be cured with Dillard’s still in place. They also say that if the court allows the condemnation, then the Longmont Urban Renewal Authority should not take possession until a jury sets the value of the property, which wouldn’t happen until the fall."

What is the scope of this project, and why is it deemed necessary?

"Twin Peaks is owned by NewMark Merrill Mountain States, based in Fort Collins. They plan a vast redevelopment, renaming it The Village at the Peaks. The redevelopment is a response to blighted conditions at the mall, which has experienced huge vacancies in recent years, much like Foothills Mall in Fort Collins.

The Longmont redevelopment would include a 100,000-square-foot Sam’s Club, a 30,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market and a 12-screen Regal Entertainment movie theater. Overall, the developer believes that the current mall is far too big and needed a new mix of retailers and entertainment offerings."

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