The soil is already beginning to shift in Loveland, Colo., where
Interstate 25 and U.S. 34 meet for the construction of a new
lifestyle center mall, which is part of a 3,000 acre mixed-use,
master planned community known as Centerra.
The new-concept lifestyle center will be host to hotels,
restaurants, office buildings, shopping, residential housing and a
medical complex. Lifestyle centers are a relatively new concept
where residential, office and shopping real estate are mixed.
Fort Collins city officials are still unsure whether they will
build a similar shopping complex on the Harmony Road Corridor at
the intersection of Ziegler. At stake is an estimated $41 million
loss in revenue if a center opens in Loveland and not in Fort
Bayer Properties, based in Alabama, is in discussions with Fort
Collins City Manager John Fischbach and the city’s finance
department to solidify the proposed $70 million project, which will
cover 450,000 square-feet.
Before any such deal is concrete, the City Council must approve
possible incentives and public financing.
City council member Karen Weitkunat of District 2, said she does
not know whether a lifestyle center will even be built in Fort
“There are so many variables. I tend to be optimistic, but I do
not have a crystal ball,” Weitkunat said.
Weitkunat and other city council members are sure of one thing:
Fort Collins will not grant Bayer Properties a contract as did the
City of Loveland to its developer.
“To sell the farm, I’ve never supported that,” Weitkunat
The Loveland City Council unanimously approved an incentive
package earlier this year for Loveland-based developer McWhinney
Enterprises for 1,300 acres of undeveloped land in the 3,000-acre
A 1.25 percent city sales tax credit and new property taxes from
an urban renewal project are expected to generate $591 million. The
deal will create about $5 million a year in city taxes during the
next 25 years and about $15 million a year after that, city finance
“Incentives can be as simple as waiving a street fee,” Weitkunat
said, who insisted she will look at all the variables in building a
Fort Collins lifestyle center and make a decision based on what
they market will probably hold.
David May, president of the Fort Collins area Chamber of
Commerce, said the market will make the decision on whether
Northern Colorado could bare two large shopping centers. The key,
he said, is whether enough people have enough disposable income to
support additional retail.
May said Fort Collins has typically made good economic decisions
of this sort and that it’s fortunate the city is not falling into
an economic slump like Boulder.
May said generating new business is important to keeping a city
alive, and Boulder failed to do that when they did not understand
the concept of competition, like in the nearby city of Broomfield
where a new mall emerged a few years ago.
“There is competition (between Fort Collins and Loveland) in the
sense Fort Collins has been the retail sales center of Northern
Colorado,” May said.