On a recent September afternoon, Shirley Beyer walked toward her truck parked in the lot for T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods in Castle Rock. She loaded up her shopping bags and put her cart in the bay. Next …
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On a recent September afternoon, Shirley Beyer walked toward her truck parked in the lot for T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods in Castle Rock.
She loaded up her shopping bags and put her cart in the bay. Next up, she needed to stop at Lowe’s. The Kiowa woman makes a day of running errands when she’s in town, she said, and these stores are always on her list.
“It used to be all about the outlet malls,” she said of the northern part of Castle Rock, where the 166-acre Promenade development, located between U.S. Highway 85 and Interstate 25, is still underway. But an outlet mall doesn’t have stores she visits on a regular basis.
“These,” Beyer said looking toward the T.J. Maxx, the HomeGoods, the Ulta and the Petco, “are all stores I do go to.”
As the Promenade at Castle Rock moves toward completion, local residents are weighing its convenience versus necessity, town officials are watching its revenue generation and job creation, and developers are steaming ahead with construction.
Alberta Development Partners broke ground on the project in 2014, with zoning to build up to 900,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 300 multifamily units.
Based on the amount of square footage either built or committed (684,000), compared to the amount the 166 acres are zoned for, the Promenade is roughly 80 percent complete.
Project leaders in recent weeks have announced the next round of businesses slated to open. Among them, said Peter Cudlip, principal for Alberta, is a Sierra Trading Post, coming in October, and a Del Taco, 7-Eleven and Chick-fil-A, which will open in the near future. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop opens in mid-November.
The Promenade will also bring Castle Rock its first Whole Foods.
The company has signed a 20-year lease and should open the first quarter of 2020. The building will feature a grand hearth, one design element that had been promised within the scope of the project, Cudlip said.
Construction has yet to start on a credit union and later this year work will be begin on the Mexican restaurant, La Loma. Cudlip said there’s discussion with a hotel that may locate near the Sam’s Club.
Other areas of the development have yet to begin construction or find businesses interested in taking the space, which can influence what type of buildings are built.
Land of opportunity
In total, roughly 60 businesses have opened at the site. The number to come could vary. Cudlip said the entire development could be completed in 2021.
“I think it provides an ability for the Town of Castle Rock residents to not have to leave the community. There are a lot of tenants that were not in the market. It provided a lot of convenient restaurants,” he said. “It provided a big increase in sales tax revenue.”
In the first six months of 2018, the Promenade accounted for approximately 14 percent of the town’s total sales tax revenue, said Pete Mangers, revenue manager for the Town of Castle Rock.
In 2017, he said, the town saw sales tax growth in the double digits, approximately 11 percent. That’s when several new stores at the Promenade opened, said the town’s finance director, Trish Muller.
Sales tax revenue helps pay salaries for police and fire personnel, funds community centers and supports the general fund and transportation needs, like maintenance.
Muller and Mangers said to date the Promenade has brought new types of retail and job opportunities to town.
“The town is very sales tax centric and as such, we rely on those sales tax dollars,” Muller said. “The tradeoff here is that our community, Castle Rock, has a very, very low property tax.”
The project hasn’t been without setbacks. Before construction began, prairie dog activists tried to block the development to preserve prairie dog habitat located on the project site.
And over the summer, heavy rains drenched the town, causing flooding at the Promenade.
Its large retaining walls located on the west side of the development, near apartment buildings and a school, became a waterfall.
Site engineers inspected the area and ensured there were no structural issues, Cudlip said. Cosmetic damages to walls were fixed, dirt work was redone and storm drains added to prevent the flooding from happening again.
And there are residents who say the Promenade isn’t delivering what was promised.
Jonathan Schimkaitis has lived in Castle Rock since 2008. He feels “the town is accepting mediocracy from the developers.”
“I understand that basically to survive you need to grow. You can’t stay stagnant,” he said. “Trust me, I know it’s been great for the town, but what’s going to happen when there’s a downturn and we have too many eggs in one basket?”
Schimkaitis said he knows early drafts of development plans can change but he believes Alberta promised a more high-end shopping experience.
“I’m not against the development,” he said. “It’s just I think the town, they see dollar signs in their eyes with this project, and as long as the money is coming in they’re not going to give the developers too much grief.”
‘Gap in the marketplace’
Muller and Mangers said to residents worried about the project that it has brought opportunity to the town and its residents.
“I look at Sam’s, and I think it’s provided opportunities that residents, retail or grocery… didn’t have before,” Muller said.
“And job opportunities,” Mangers said.
Cudlip said which businesses the Promenade brings in is largely based on which businesses have interest.
“We’ve had a lot of people ask why we don’t have more sit-down restaurants,” he said. “There’s just not a lot of people doing sit-down.”
There’s also more work to be done, he said. In the final leg of the project they hope to bring more eateries like La Loma.
“Residents can have an expectation,” Cudlip said, “but what you see and what we’ve developed out there is what was a gap in the marketplace.”
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