The Kmart store at Powers and Palmer Park boulevards, which closed in 2014, is still shuttered. But it is the exception on the booming Powers corridor, where vacancies are rare and quickly filled.
“The corridor is pretty mature, at least as far as retail development,” said Fred Veitch, leasing agent with Nor’wood Development Group for the First & Main Town Center at Powers and North Carefree Circle. “You’re still seeing a few retail projects completing themselves, but generally I would say the area is very healthy.”
At First & Main, “certainly we’re seeing extremely strong sales figures,” Veitch said. “We’re very pleased with the performance of our center.”
The corridor is populated mostly with chain stores and restaurants, which have followed the rooftops that have sprouted on both sides of the Powers corridor.
While the majority of retailers in the corridor are doing well, “you’re having some turnover of national tenants,” he said. “Some companies aren’t doing as well nationally, so you’re seeing some vacancies occur because of that, but generally the space is being backfilled by new tenants that want to be in the market. We’re still seeing very strong demand if there were spaces available for lease or purchase.”
New tenants at First & Main include La-Z-Boy Furniture, which is moving into a space vacated by Office Max.
“They are in the process of starting to refurbish the space for their store,” Veitch said.
In addition, “we are adding a new Marriott Hotel, and that will be starting construction probably in the next 90 days. We’re doing that because of the success of the existing Holiday Inn Express and Suites. It’s done extremely well, so there’s interest in more density.”
But overall, Veitch said, “we really don’t have a lot of new tenants because most of our tenants have done extremely well, so we don’t have a lot of turnover.”
First & Main’s owners are reinvesting in the center to keep it current and inviting, including repaving and restriping the parking lots and replacing existing lighting with LED fixtures that are more energy efficient.
“We’re doing major renovations to every part of the center,” Veitch said. “We’re replacing right now all of the crosswalks, about 40 of them; we’re spending several million dollars on that. We’ve replaced a lot of landscaping recently. We spent several million redoing façades on the buildings and redoing things like awnings, some of the landscaping furniture and things like trash enclosures and benches and lights. We’re trying to keep the center in A-plus condition.”
Other shopping centers along the corridor also are building and refurbishing. An example is the Burlington under construction next to Tuesday Morning at Powers Pointe, southwest of Powers and Barnes Road.
LOCALS AMONG THE CHAINS
Although most of the retail stores along the Powers corridor are chains, there’s a sprinkling of local stores, restaurants and breweries among the shopping centers.
The Skirted Heifer is the latest local store to stake out a presence on Powers. Owner Kevin Megyeri said the second installment of the popular downtown hamburger eatery will be twice the size of the Tejon Street location and will employ about 25 people.
Megyeri, the son of Skirted Heifer and Bambino’s Urban Pizzeria owners Kevin and Suzette Megyeri, will be helming the new restaurant in Dublin Commons III on the corner of Powers and Dublin Boulevard.
“I found a great opportunity to start my own restaurant, with the backing of my parents and their blessing, and it just so happened to work out really well in an area that we think we can be really good in,” Megyeri said.
“We probably looked at 11 different areas to choose from, and way out east on Powers, it is just so crazy busy,” he said. “We just found the perfect spot.”
Although the Powers-Dublin location was more expensive than some he looked at, Megyeri thought it had all the components for success — high traffic and visibility, good retail analytics and lots of residents nearby.
“It really feels like, instead of people just wanting another Skirted Heifer, it’s like it’s a need at this time,” he said. “Everyone’s been calling the downtown location just telling us how excited they are that we’re opening up there.”
Megyeri is not too concerned about competing with several national chain restaurants nearby, including a Burger King across the street.
“We feel good about it,” he said. “Colorado has so many chains, but one thing that is super cool about it is that we have this new chance to show what a local family can do for this city. So many people are excited that we are going out there to compete against national chains. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that we have something to offer.”
Megyeri said he plans to offer the same cheese-draped, grass-fed and -finished burgers downtown patrons have enjoyed. The main differences will be that the Powers restaurant will feature locally crafted Colorado beers and a slightly different selection of desserts. Instead of the frozen custard served downtown, the Powers locale will offer homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches.
“We just wanted to try something new, and I think this is a little bit of a way to make the north end experience a little bit more unique while keeping everything of our flagship staple,” he said.
Megyeri plans a grand opening Feb. 11, and the new restaurant likely will get a boost from TV exposure. The Skirted Heifer was featured on an episode of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2016, and Megyeri and his mother were contestants on “Guy’s Grocery Games.” The episode will air Jan. 23.
DECLINING BIG BOXES
The long-vacant Kmart has been plagued with vandalism and poor upkeep, but it still is being pursued by several possible tenants, said John Egan, principal broker with NAI Highland, owners of the Powers Centre at Powers and Palmer Park.
“It’s a matter of the right fit for the building,” Egan said. “Once it’s the right fit, I’m sure they’ll pursue it. The right fit means economically the right use.”
Egan thinks the Kmart building still has potential as a retail space because of its prime location on the Powers corridor. But it might not house just one business.
“What you’re seeing nationally are the larger boxes becoming less practical,” Egan said. “Not many people are looking for that size in this market, or any market. We’re coming into more of a convenience size, which means they take that 70,000-square-foot building and divide it.”
The rest of the Powers Centre is full, Egan said.
“We’re a lower-cost center on the corridor,” he said. “The rates are what make it attractive. Once that Kmart building is figured out, those rates could change.”
Egan’s firm also owns and built several other centers on parcels along the Powers corridor and is currently working on a new phase of The Plaza at Barnes West, but it also is seeing retail and service development spilling over onto adjacent and intersecting streets. These are smaller centers embedded in local neighborhoods.
“We just finished one at Dublin and Marksheffel [Road],” Egan said. “We’re in the very early stages of one on the northwest corner of Woodmen [Road] and Marksheffel.
“Marksheffel is taking off and becoming a very attractive corridor due to Powers,” he said. “If we had more available space, we could fill it.”