Retail on a roll: Area commercial parks approach build-out


Southern Coloradans with a little extra money to burn should take note: Several long-established chains, locally owned businesses and area newcomers are maneuvering to take advantage of the area’s growth and spending power.

Developers and management related to some of the busiest centers of commerce around the city say business is good, and continued growth is afoot in order to keep up with the area’s appetite for all things retail.

Promenade Shops at Briargate

One of the city’s most comprehensive retail center overhauls is underway at the Promenade Shops at Briargate. Two popular national retailers, Lululemon Athletica Showroom and Anthropolgie, are expected to open at the northern retail park in September, according to Deanna DeLarge, Promenade Shops general manager.

Lululemon will fill the space formerly occupied by Coldwater Creek, DeLarge said, adding the athletic apparel shop will be about 3,000 square feet. Coldwater Creek filed for Chapter 11 protection in April 2014 and closed more than 300 stores around the U.S.

Anthropologie, a Pennsylvania-based clothing, accessories and home store, will also open in September where apparel retailer Ann Taylor was once housed. The fourth in the state, Anthropologie’s only southern Colorado location will fill about 10,000 square feet, DeLarge said, adding the Ann Taylor-affiliated Loft store at Promenade Shops will continue operations.

Additionally, construction has begun on two structures, one where Champps Americana sports bar once operated east of Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano. The other building will be built adjacent to P.F. Chang’s, DeLarge said, adding a new road between the four buildings should offer easier access to the east side of the complex.

DeLarge said the unfinished building on the former Champps site will house two restaurants while the structure under construction east of P.F. Chang’s will be leased to four retailers. She said two restaurants are already in negotiations to occupy the former building, while Promenade Shops is still courting potential retailers for the latter building. She would not disclose details regarding potential tenants, but did say the construction projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Finally, a Toni & Guy salon will open early this summer in a space formerly occupied by paint-your-own-ceramics chain Color Me Mine.

“Business has been great,” DeLarge said of the center in general, adding the retail campus is filled to about 97 percent capacity, a number it has consistently operated near since the commercial site was constructed in 2003. “We’re very excited. … We’re always looking to bring retailers who are unique to this market.”

First & Main Town Center

According to Fred Veitch, Nor’wood Development Group’s vice president, the popular Eastside First & Main Town Center retail hub is reaching build-out with around 22,000 square feet of remaining developable space. That space is spread over two pad sites, Veitch said — one located near the existing Ulta cosmetics store and the other farther south, near the Fox & Hound Sport Tavern.


“We know that people want to experience our arts and culture – the whole package. Not just retail or restaurants.” 

– Sarah Harris, Downtown Partnership


Additionally, three women’s clothing retailers have recently opened on the First & Main campus: Dressbarn, Lane Bryant and Maurices. All three operate as subsidiaries of New Jersey-based Ascena Retail Group, Inc.

“Maurices indicated this was their most successful opening in the company’s history,” Veitch said.

Two food retailers are also slated for the area. Bubba’s 33 sports bar will open near the intersection of Constitution Avenue and Powers Boulevard, although representatives did not return calls from the Business Journal prior to press time. Bubba’s 33 is a Texas Roadhouse Inc. subsidiary and is expected to open this summer, according to its Facebook page.

The former Johnny Carino’s, located at 3015 N. New Center Point, will soon be home to the locally owned and operated Panino’s restaurant, according to Veitch. Panino’s management said the Eastside location should open in August. That will be the business’ third location in Colorado Springs, with additional operations in Fort Collins and North Oaks, Minn.

University Village Colorado

Tom Cone of Olive Real Estate Group said University Village Colorado on North Nevada Avenue is also nearing capacity. An 8,400-square-foot Christy Sports is slated to open within the next two months, Cone said, adding that just more than 20,000 square feet of retail space can still be developed. Work should begin next month on the final phase of construction. Cone said there haven’t been any leases signed yet for the remaining space.

Christy Sports, known for its ski merchandise, is moving from its location between Palmer Park Boulevard and Constitution Avenue on Academy Boulevard, where it has operated for more than two decades.

Since opening six years ago, University Village Colorado — an 80-acre property — has benefited from Urban Renewal Area status, and development has been constant since its Costco anchor opened in October 2009. Recent retailers to open at University Village include fitness facility Pure Barre, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s. Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop, described as “fine dining and contemporary American cuisine,” will have a public grand opening from 6-8 p.m. April 28. Cone would not comment on other expected lessees. The center has approximately 60 tenants.

Downtown averaged a 96 percent occupancy rate in 2014 and several new retailers have since opened. The area will be promoted as a weekend tourist destination for Coloradans outside the city.

Downtown Colorado Springs

The city’s core retail scene continues to see fluctuations. Several businesses have closed or moved since last summer, but several of those vacated spots were  rapidly filled.

North Tejon Street is now home to several new retail businesses, including the Colorado Switchbacks FC apparel shop, Izzy’s Gifts and Entwine fiber arts studio. The recently opened Fly Bike Shop is operating on Bijou, along with Colorado Creators Guild art gallery and school. Artist K8E Orr said the 50-member guild opened the shop last month and plans to feature an outdoor back-alley market this summer.

According to Sarah Harris, development manager for the Downtown Partnership, craft gin distillery Lee Spirits Co., to be located on Boulder Street, also should be operational this summer.

Several downtown promotions will take place during the summer, including Pints and Plates from May 12-14, an event that will feature local breweries pairing specially crafted beers with food from downtown restaurants, and a summer sidewalk sale will take place in July in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain State Games kickoff celebration. Additionally the Downtown Partnership is producing an insert that will be included in Denver’s 5280 magazine to promote “the downtown experience” outside Colorado Springs, Harris said.

“We’re … hoping to attract local tourists from Denver, along the Front Range and the mountains,” she said. “[The special section] features downtown retail and cultural opportunities. … We know that people want to experience our arts and culture — the whole package. Not just retail or restaurants.”

According to Laurel Prud’homme, director of communications and events with the Downtown Partnership, the 16-page special section will be inserted and mailed in July to all of the magazine’s subscribers, but will not be available in newsstand editions.

Prud’homme echoed Harris regarding the promotion of the city’s cultural experiences in conjunction with dining and retail.

“The Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit coming to the Fine Arts Center — Colorado Springs is one of four cities in the country to host that exhibit,” Prud’homme said.  “We’re including a lot of our cultural opportunities — the Fine Arts Center, Art on the Street, we’re a Certified Creative District and we provide historic walking tours. We’re also focusing on dining and shopping, specifically targeted to folks coming [to the city] for the weekend for things like a marathon or other sporting event, or an exhibit at the Fine Arts Center.”

Prud’homme said retail options have expanded downtown compared to last year, adding downtown averaged a 96 percent occupancy rate in 2014 for retail and, of nearly 2.5 million total square feet of retail space downtown, just more than 145,000 square feet are currently vacant.

“We have seen a little bit of growth,” Prud’homme said. “Some stores have closed, but we’ve seen vacant properties from last year filled. Downtown has had seven new retailers open since January.”

Prud’homme added downtown saw 13 new retailers open in 2014, compared to three in 2013. Five of those 13, she said, were temporary pop-up shops operational during the holidays, but two of the five went on to sign long-term leases.

Prud’homme said that evolution created a “ripple effect. It reinvigorated nearby businesses. One stayed and two adjacent empty spaces have since been leased.”

The Promenade Shops at Briargate will be undergoing several major changes this year. Retailers Anthropologie and Lululemon are coming soon, and new restaurant and retail space is under construction.