New business center owner steps up tenant marketing
A large business plaza on Highway 82 outside Glenwood Springs city limits that hit hard times during the recession and eventually fell into foreclosure now has a new owner who is busy lining up a mix of retail and other commercial tenants.
Bringing some needed visibility to the Glenwood Commercial Center at 2550 Highway 82, situated just south of the Roaring Fork Marketplace on the curve headed out of town, will be a new full-service liquor store.
New property owner David Forenza, part of a group of Vail-area investors who bought the property in a bank sale last December, and property manager Robbie Stewardson won licensing approval from Garfield County commissioners this week to open 82 Liquors.
Stewardson’s father, Rich Stewardson, and brother Jeffery Stewardson, will be partners in the liquor store. They are shooting for a Nov. 1 opening, just in time for the upcoming holiday and ski seasons, Robbie Stewardson said.
He said the store will concentrate on the “Costco model,” offering standard beer and liquor selections at reasonable prices, plus a large and varied selection of wines.
“We won’t be offering tobacco products, vaporizers, shooters, anything like that,” Stewardson said. “That’s not what we’re going after.”
He and Forenza hope the new liquor store will add momentum to the 54,560-square-foot commercial center that sat mostly vacant for several years while it was in bank ownership.
The addition earlier this year of Soul Food, a natural health-care products store, brought some visibility to the center, which includes dozens of different-size units spread between four separate, two-story buildings.
Forenza, a contractor/developer and real estate investor from Edwards who also has investment interests in the Roaring Fork Valley, said he has had his eye on the plaza for some time.
After a series of purchase offers by other investors fell through, Forenza was finally able to close on the property at the end of last year for around $3 million.
“The bank that had it didn’t want to be a landlord, so it sat mostly vacant for all those years,” Forenza said. “Since we were able to take it over, we’ve gone from 20 percent (occupancy) to about 50 percent. Our goal now is to get it fully occupied and turn it into a vibrant commercial center.”
Forenza said he would like to attract a mix of retail businesses and professional offices to the center, and is also actively pursuing a restaurant, bakery and other types of food service.
Added Stewardson, “The project was a long-term investment” for the original developer, Prince Creek Construction.
“Unfortunately it just happened at a bad time, as a lot of things did around that time,” he said of the national economic recession and real estate downturn that hit in 2008-09.
“We are seeing now that a lot of these projects do seem to be on an uptick,” Stewardson said.
In addition to being involved in several projects in the Vail Valley, Forenza took over as developer of the stalled Shadowrock townhouse project in El Jebel in 2010. He was able to capitalize on low construction costs at the time to complete the project, according to an article that appeared in the Aspen Times.
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Garfield County is seeking to qualify its four west-end communities for Colorado’s Rural Jump Start program, providing tax breaks for new businesses.