Development watch

Streets at SouthGlenn second community meeting may occur before Thanksgiving

Jones District decision due in coming weeks; SouthGlenn fate likely not clear until 2020

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In today's changing retail landscape, The Streets at SouthGlenn is trying to adapt to survive.

The outdoor mall at South University Boulevard and East Arapahoe Road is a top source of tax revenue for the City of Centennial, but it's pulling in a smaller proportion of funds than it once did.

After the recent closing of SouthGlenn's Sears, developers brought a vision to the city that laid out plans to turn that property mainly into apartments, with retail possible on the ground floor. Similar plans could come to bear for the mall's Macy's, a flagship also expected to close in the coming years.

A community meeting shed light on the vision and heard residents' concerns earlier this year, and the long-awaited second update on the proposal could happen before Thanksgiving.

In the meantime, here's a look at what could change, how the process works and where things stand on another highly watched development, The Jones District.

History of changes

SouthGlenn was originally the large, indoor Southglenn Mall built in the 1970s, and the Sears and Macy's were components of that mall, according to the city. SouthGlenn's outdoor shopping center layout replaced the former mall in 2009.

Sears closed near the end of last year. The Macy's isn't likely to close in the immediate future, but developers expect it to shutter in the next few years.

The Macy's building was constructed in 1981, according to Arapahoe County assessor's records. Macy's West Stores Inc. sold it to Alberta Development Partners in February 2018 for $10 million, records show.

What could change

Developers want to turn the Sears property mainly into apartments with possible first-floor retail, and similar plans could come to bear for the mall's Macy's, which could see apartments, office space, and possibly retail and entertainment establishments within a few years.

On the Sears and Macy's land, 800 apartment units could be possible on each property, but plans for Macy's call for about 400. The Sears property's plan is for five stories.

The current allowable building heights at SouthGlenn vary across the site, according to the city's website. No building height is allowed to exceed 100 feet. The current tallest building is the office building north of the former Sears at 85 feet.

Updating the community

A crowd of more than 100 came to a March 19 meeting inside the empty former Sears, the first community meeting in the city's review process for the SouthGlenn proposal.

That was supposed to be followed by a second meeting likely in late April, but the city is anticipating it soon.

“The holidays are approaching, and the city does not want a community meeting between Thanksgiving and the end of the year,” said Allison Wittern, city spokesperson.

That delay effectively pushes the final city council vote on the proposal to after the next city council is seated in January, but Wittern said that outcome wasn't intentional.

The developers “want to be confident in the information presented at the second community meeting. They also wanted to make sure the traffic impact study was complete” so the public could ask questions, Wittern said. The study’s results will shed light on the effect redevelopment could have on traffic in the surrounding area.

What changes depend on

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 2006 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.

The proposal, if approved, would decrease the amount of required retail space at SouthGlenn, increase the allowed number of residential units and increase the allowed height of the Sears and Macy's properties.

Generally, the city's planning and zoning commission — and, if it gives the green light, then city council — must base the decision on whether they feel it will benefit the public and if it “will not materially and adversely affect existing development on adjacent properties, or measures will be taken to substantially buffer or otherwise substantially mitigate any incompatibility or adverse impacts,” according to the city website.

The proposal must be consistent with the mixed-use concept of SouthGlenn’s master development plan and must not conflict with the requirements of the master development agreement or financial obligations regarding the project. The city entered into the 2006 master development agreement with the developer to establish the process by which SouthGlenn was redeveloped, and the MDA is tied to the master plan.

The proposal also must be consistent with the city's comprehensive plan, Centennial NEXT, which sets goals for future development and land use.

The city could also deny the proposal if council feels it would conflict with the general-purpose criteria listed the city's land development code, which lays out zoning and other standards for development.

However, city “staff will review the plan submitted by the developer to make sure all criteria is met prior to it moving forward to city council approval,” Wittern said.

Update on Jones

City council on Oct. 21 voted 9-0 to move forward the proposal for further development at The Jones District to a public hearing on Nov. 18.

That development — a 42-acre, mostly vacant swath of land on East Mineral Avenue in Centennial just north of IKEA — has 306 existing residential units at The Glenn apartments, and developers have said they want to add more than 1,000 more units. Under land-use rules for the area, The Jones District could not exceed roughly 1,500 units, according to Wittern.

The project will largely consist of office buildings, which could be 13 to 14 stories high along Interstate 25, but some hotel and retail uses also are part of the vision.

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