Meadows expansion in works
A proposed expansion at Glenwood Meadows could push the development’s total retail space to nearly a half-million square feet.A proposal to add 75,000 square feet of retail space and another 6,000 square feet for a restaurant will be presented to the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission at its meeting tonight at City Hall.Glenwood Meadows first opened last October, and features so-called big-box stores including Target and Lowe’s, as well as a host of smaller outlets. To date, the development has about 400,000 square feet of retail space.Now Miller Weingarten Realty is proposing to expand onto the lot between the existing stores and the Glenwood Springs Community Center.Andrew McGregor, the city’s community development director, said it looks as if Miller Weingarten is planning on building one 30,000-square-foot building and three 15,000-square-foot ones.Miller Weingarten representatives did not return calls for comment Monday. McGregor said the plans appear to reflect that the development to date has been successful.
“It certainly seems to indicate that retail sales are good and that there is a demand for additional niches in the marketplace in terms of different types of retailers that aren’t present in the area,” he said.McGregor said he hasn’t heard specific stores mentioned for the expansion, but understands that one possibility might be a consumer electronics store.He said the proposal might also be a matter of timing, in that the zoning already is in place at the Glenwood Meadows lot as part of the original zoning package. All that is needed is technical approval to build, he said.”It’s pretty much ready to go,” he said.Other local communities such as Carbondale are potential competitors for mid-sized retailers that might also consider the new Glenwood Meadows buildings. But Carbondale is still deciding what level of development might be appropriate at the long-discussed Crystal River Marketplace property.The idea of an expanded Glenwood Meadows retail component may come as a surprise to some local residents.
“I think the expectation for that property at least originally was some kind of hospitality use, a hotel/conference center,” McGregor said.However, Glenwood Meadows developer Robert Macgregor partnered with the city to have an economic study done that showed such a center would require a significant public subsidy.The original debate over Glenwood Meadows centered on whether the boost it would provide to the city’s sales tax base was worth losing open space to a massive development and introducing competition to the city’s downtown retail core.To date, city officials have been happy with how much Glenwood Meadows has helped to increase Glenwood’s sales tax revenues.Dennis Bader, owner of the Flower Mart and vice president of the Downtown Business Association, said anyone who is distressed by more construction at Glenwood Meadows has the option of showing their opposition by not shopping there.He questions just how well things are going for retailers now at Glenwood Meadows, and also thinks stores there are less involved in the community.
But he also sees the proposed expansion as free enterprise at work.”If they can sell it out there they will. That’s the way the system works,” he said.The key for stores downtown to compete is to be willing to adapt to the competition and emphasize quality service, Bader said.”That’s what we can sell downtown. People know their product down here. They stand behind it,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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The Glenwood Springs City Council will consider approving the discounted rate for students Thursday night.