The tide of big-box redevelopment has hit The Streets at SouthGlenn, where a recently closed Sears and a Macy’s whose days may be numbered are likely to be redeveloped in the coming years.
A crowd of more than 100 came to a March 19 meeting inside that empty Sears, where some residents voiced concerns about traffic in the nearby neighborhood and a need for affordable housing in the area. Developers and City of Centennial staff shared information and answered questions at that open house-style meeting.
“With dramatic changes happening in the retail industry due to changing consumer preferences, traditional retail centers throughout Centennial and the United States need to start looking at non-traditional retail uses like entertainment-based retail and non-retail uses to reinvigorate the centers,” said Neil Marciniak, Centennial’s economic development manager, in an email.
Here’s a look at what could change at SouthGlenn, located at South University Boulevard and East Arapahoe Road, as plans move forward.
Who the players are
Northwood Investors owns the Sears property, and Alberta Development Partners owns the Macy’s, along with controlling the rest of nearly all of SouthGlenn. But because the City of Centennial passed a master development plan in 2007 that deviates from normal zoning — the rules for what can be built where in the city — Northwood and Alberta need the city’s approval to make certain changes.
What could change
Northwood wants to turn the Sears property mainly into apartments, with retail possible on the ground floor, said Kyle Whitaker, a development manager with Northwood. Alberta wants to put apartments and office space, and possibly retail and entertainment — think something like Lucky Strike Bowling — where Macy’s stands, within a few years.
Demand doesn’t appear to be sufficient for a hotel at SouthGlenn, said Donald Provost, founding principal with Alberta. Northwood doesn’t have plans for adding a hotel at the moment, Whitaker said.
On both the Sears and Macy’s land, 800 apartment units could be possible on each property, but Alberta is aiming for about 400. It’s hard to say how close to 800 the number would be for Northwood, Whitaker said. Its plan is for five stories, based on the market, he added.
The units Alberta adds would be 10 percent to 20 percent higher in price than the current apartments at SouthGlenn, where a one-bedroom’s lowest price range is $1,465 to around $2,300.
A possible green area with a fountain could also be added to the Macy’s land, Provost said.
The Macy’s isn’t likely to close in the immediate future, but developers have to think about the possibility, Provost said.
“I’d be surprised if it was here in five years,” Provost said.
Sears closed near the end of last year.
Whether the plans go through is still up to the city’s determination of whether they meet the requirements of the city’s Land Development Code, which sets zoning districts and design standards.
After some preliminary talks, city staff and developers met with a group of 14 representatives from homeowners associations in the area to talk about opportunities and constraints associated with possible redevelopment March 5. On March 18, staff updated the city council and the Planning and Zoning Commission — citizens who make development recommendations to council — about the plans. The March 19 community meeting at Sears will be followed by a second meeting likely in late April.
After that, Planning and Zoning will hold a public hearing and decides whether the plans meet the city’s code. If approved, the plan moves to a city council public hearing, which makes the final decision on whether the plans meet code.
History of SouthGlenn
SouthGlenn was originally the large, indoor Southglenn Mall built in the 1970s, and the Sears and Macy’s were components of that mall, said Marciniak, the city’s development manager.
It “is now a successful lifestyle center with main street elements that make it one of the top retail and entertainment destinations in Centennial,” he added.
SouthGlenn’s outdoor shopping center layout replaced the former mall in 2009.
The Macy’s building was constructed in 1981, according to Arapahoe County assessor’s records. Macy’s West Stores Inc. sold it to Alberta in February 2018 for $10 million, records show.
Despite the drastic changes in the retail industry in recent years, SouthGlenn has the potential to stay successful, Marciniak said.
“Offices, a variety of residential types (and) activated public spaces have the potential to help these centers evolve and remain relevant while providing housing opportunities for existing and new residents, attracting new companies to the city,”’ Marciniak said, “and ensuring Centennial residents have a high-quality neighborhood destination.”
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