The Town of Castle Rock has now twice pushed back deadlines outlined in its original deal with Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply, which is slated to partially fill a vacant 70,000-square-foot box …
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The Town of Castle Rock has now twice pushed back deadlines outlined in its original deal with Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply, which is slated to partially fill a vacant 70,000-square-foot box store in town later this year.
The town council in June 2018 approved an incentive agreement to help Murdoch's fill 50,000 square feet of the former King Soopers space at Milestone Shopping Center, 100 Founders Parkway, and hopefully bring life back to the area.
In July, that agreement was amended with later deadlines and on Feb. 5 of this year amended for the second time, as Murdoch's requested more time to prepare the space for opening day.
Town Manager Dave Corliss told council on both occasions that the amendments do not change the economics of the deal, only those milestone dates. Castle Rock agreed to a 25 percent sales tax shareback, not to exceed four years or $300,000, if Murdoch's entered a 10-year lease and made an estimated $2.5 million in improvements to the former grocery store.
The first amendment changed the date by which Murdoch's would pull a building permit, from Aug. 15, 2018 to Nov. 6, 2018, and changed its grand opening date from Feb. 2, 2019 to May 15, 2019.
The company pulled the building permit on Dec. 28, paid its fees and then put about one month of work into the store, Corliss said. But they later submitted a letter to the town asking the grand opening date be rescheduled again for May 31. The request, he said, came amid unexpected construction setbacks.
Corliss also addressed concerns voiced by town officials and in public comment about Murdoch's future landlord — a company of Gary Dragul, the Cherry Hills Village businessman indicted on nine counts of securities fraud.
Corliss maintained that the town's deal is with Murdoch's, not its landlord. If for whatever reason Murdoch's is unable to open or generate sales tax, the agreement is defunct, he said.
Murdoch's is a Montana-based company with locations in Parker and northwest Douglas County near Highlands Ranch.
Councilmember Kevin Bracken on Feb. 5 urged council to get the store up-and-running regardless of who the landlord was.
“Let's get the revenue from this,” he said.
The issue garnered a “no” vote from former Mayor Jennifer Green when council first considered the incentive agreement. Green said Dragul's connection to the project made her nervous. Councilmember and now Mayor Pro Tem Jason Bower also voted no on the original agreement because he believed the building should have been put up for sale. He supported the amendments, saying there was no point in holding the project back with an incentive agreement already in place.
The space was left empty in May 2017 after King Soopers relocated from the Milestone Center to the Promenade. Town officials and neighboring business owners said it took with it crucial traffic and buzz created by an anchor tenant.
As the space remained empty, some neighboring businesses closed at the retail center altogether, including a Starbucks, Le Peep and Massage Green. Overall, sales in the area declined more than 11 percent over the remainder of 2017, according to documents from the Castle Rock Economic Development Council.
Councilmember James Townsend said he was excited to see “a really successful company” interested in replacing King Soopers. Mayor Jason Gray concurred.
“I know that there's been a big burden in that area,” Gray said. “I think it will be great for that retail center.”
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