Citizens for a Better Centennial
We are a group of citizens monitoring issues in the City of Centennial, Colorado
Neighbors for The Streets at SouthGlenn
March 13, 2020
Message from Ron Phelps:
Although not the most important thing going on in our city or country, there are a couple of updates regarding the redevelopment plans at the Streets at SouthGlenn I’d like to share.
In my last update, I shared that we were not interested in meeting again with either developer unless they are willing to modify their November 2019 concepts/plans. After several phone calls and emails, we agreed to meet again as the developers wanted our feedback on changes they are willing to make.
As a result, our group’s steering committee met with them on March 9th. Others attending included the building and landscape architects.
In summary, we learned that the new traffic counts are completed, and the former Sears property plan for rental apartments is now down to 550 units at maximum height of 75’.
See below for more details about the second traffic count, number of units/density, height, retail size, and open space.
Traffic. The second traffic count was completed the week of March 2nd. The data is being gathered by the traffic firm, who will report the results to the city. The report will be released to the public by the city, perhaps by the end of March or early April.
Units/Density. The initial ask in March 2019 by NWI/R for the Sears property was for 800 units and Macys 1,150 units. This week, the ask is down to 550 (Sears) and 575 (Macys) total rental units, or 1125 units. With our priority focus on the Sears end, we feel 550 is still too many units. Using a density metric called dwelling units per acre (du/ac), a number is calculated to represent the density. The calculation is done by dividing the property size (11.7 acres) by the total number of units (units/acres = du/ac).
For the former Sears property, the numbers since last March are:
Mar 2019 = 800 units (68 du/ac)
Nov 2019 = 698 units (59 du/ac)
Mar 2020 = 550 units (47 du/ac)
Our goal = 410 units (35 du/ac)
For the current Macys property, I don’t have the accurate acreage, so I don’t have the density number. But the total unit numbers since last March are:
Mar 2019 = 1150 units
Nov 2019 = 575 units
Mar 2020 = 575 units
You can see that progress is being made, but we’re not there yet as we are asking for no more than 410 units (which is 35 du/ac, up from our previous number of 30 du/ac).
Height. Initially, NWI/R (Sears) asked for 100’ and Alberta (Macy’s) asked for 75’. In this week’s meetings, the developers reduced the height request to only increase to 75’ for both areas. We prefer to keep to the existing zoning height of 50’, especially on the outside perimeter bordering Easter Ave and Race Street.
The developers say that they need more height in order to build a structure that will contain wrap-around parking (like the current Portola apartments w/parking in the middle and hidden from view). In the end, they have agreed to review again to see if they can reduce the height down to our request. We also discussed having some of the perimeter buildings be shorter and pushing taller buildings to the interior.
Open Space. This is another important core issue is Open Space. The city council recently changed the definition of “open space” to “public space” for some areas. The result is that hard surfaces can be included in the measurements. We strongly disagree with this updated definition. It’s too developer/density friendly and not neighborhood/people friendly. Therefore, we are insisting that the developers include a minimum of 10% green space on the total redeveloped property area. Green space is defined as space that has living plants or lawn of some kind, and certainly not concrete or asphalt. We’ve asked for gray water (recycled) to be used, too.
Retail. The current minimum retail space is over 900,000 sq ft. The March 2019 number was to reduce the retail to by about half, or approx. 500,000 sq ft. The current number has increased the minimum amount of retail to 645,000 sq ft. Keep in mind that the Sears building is all retail and if replaced with residential, will account for much of the loss of retail space.
Condominiums. We need more ‘for sale’ properties, not rental properties. However, and I’m certainly not an expert, it’s my understanding that the market for affordable condominiums priced under $400k isn’t a viable market for developers under current law. This has been an issue since 2013 or so. Until the state legislature reforms the law to lower the insurance and other liability costs for developers, I don’t think we will see any affordable, first-time buyer condominiums in our area.
I’ve included a diagram created by the developers to illustrate the MDP Amendment evolution from March 2019 to March 2020.
February 17, 2020
Message from Ron Phelps, Neighbors for the Streets at SouthGlenn: All - I learned in a phone call last Tuesday with Northwood Investors (NWI) that a second traffic study will be done. The TIS will repeat gathering traffic counts at all intersections surrounding the development, which will duplicate what was done last year. The 2nd study is expected to be completed by March 1st, with attention to not include any snow days, and to be completed before LPS spring break begins.
Both developers continue to discuss how they want to move forward, especially with the plans for the former Sears property. NWI is willing to reset and begin fresh in discussions with us, including having their architect attend a future small group discussion.
January 23, 2020
We keep growing....now 485 folks on the list!
There hasn't been any redevelopment news to share since the previous email that Macy's renewed their lease for another two years. That said, both developers continue to talk and discuss how they want to move forward, especially with their plans for the former Sears property. Once I learn of any new information, I will share that with you. I don't expect to hear anything from the developers until mid to late February.
In other news since the last update, the Portola apartments at The Streets of SouthGlenn have been sold for $71M to Southern California Family Office. It is typical for property assets to be sold as part of an overall asset portfolio strategy.
Also, a representative from our steering committee will meet with an attorney next week to discuss options in the event a petition is needed for either a referendum (to offset an ordinance) or an initiative (more broad stoke tool to prevent or limit). To be clear, the city has not officially acted on any plans. However, we want to be educated and prepared if a legal tool is needed.
For those who are new to the group, our founding principles remain grounded on 1) educating ourselves to the truth and facts, 2) collaborating, and 3) advocating for our collective interests with all parties who will talk to us. Given the large number of interested individuals in our group, we have formed a small steering committee. The committee includes individuals who live in the surrounding neighborhood area who are former elected officials or with backgrounds in planning, real estate, and engineering. In addition, we counsel with those who have experience in development/redevelopment matters who live in Golden, Lakewood and Greenwood Village.
The group's position is that we are not opposed to the redevelopment, but we don’t like the current flavor being offered. It simply does not fit our suburban neighborhood area. We know that whatever comes to be will have a significant impact on our roads, schools and traffic. We insist that we have a seat at the table so we can defend our homes, neighborhoods and our way of life. I invite your feedback if you feel differently.
One other unrelated note for those of you who drive Colorado Blvd. There are plans and budget monies targeted to add a traffic signal at Colorado Blvd and Nobles. This will allow residents to exit but it will also invite cut-through traffic for those wanting to avoid the congestion on Dry Creek or Arapahoe. Check out the city website to learn more and get involved if you have an opinion.
December 11, 2019
Here is an update for you since the Nov 19th community meeting at Powell Middle School.
Summary. The developer has NOT submitted their rezoning request to the city yet and are not planning to do so before the end of the year. They are reviewing their plans and considering gathering additional data. They meet regularly with the city to discuss and share status updates. The Neighbors for The Streets at Southglenn (N4S@SG) group is preparing to circulate a petition to force a special election that will protect our suburban neighborhoods and prevent any urbanization.
Developer update. I have met 1/1 with both developers since the Nov 19th meeting.
On the day before Thanksgiving I met with Don Provost from Alberta Development, and on Tuesday afternoon, Dec 10th, I had a 30-minute phone conversation with Northwood Investor’s representative Brian Cleary. I explained to Mr. Provost that our group – the N4S@SG is adamantly opposed to what was presented on November 19th. And, that we have begun preparations to launch a petition drive for a special election. About a week later, I asked Don about a rumor I heard that Macy’s has renewed their lease for another two years. He wouldn’t comment “on a rumor.” That said, I have heard from multiple sources that the Macy’s lease has been renewed for two years with an option to extend after that. Some remodeling is expected and perhaps a grand -reopening in March.*
*NOTE - CORRECTION to above: I heard from six sources, including two apparent Macy employees, that the renewal was happening. However, I've been corrected by the developer that the renewal, etc. is NOT true. I thought I had accurate information directly from employees but didn't. My apologies. Help share and spread the word to quash the rumor that I've helped to spread
I shared with Mr. Cleary that our steering committee had met the night before (Dec 9) and we were still upset about the details presented in the Nov 19th meeting. Brian acknowledged responsibility for their part in a misunderstanding and asked that future conversations (i.e. any future small group meeting we might have) be as direct and candid as possible. Brian assured me that they are not ready to submit anything to the city in December and don’t want to rush into their next steps and looking to revamp “their ask.” They are considering whether to update the traffic count surrounding the redevelopment area, and if they do, the recount will be done in or after January. He acknowledged the dozens of questions they are received about the traffic study and are trying to get their arms around all the questions so they can provide answers in a succinct manner. In total, I talked to Brian for about 30 minutes.
We presume that the city staff and city council will continue to favor urban development in the city – code words = “smart growth” – which has the goal of increasing density and urbanization. The city staff has pretty much said this in various meetings and the rezoning of The Jones District is one recent piece of evidence. In fact, the S@SG redevelopment proposal presented at the Nov 19th community meeting screams urbanization. Do the math… the developer proposed building 698 units on approx. 10 acres, which equates to approx. 70 units per acre (or 70 du)!
As member of the N4S@SG steering committee pointed out, the Centennial City LDC has a zoning district for this level of density and its called “Urban Center” or UC. But the S@SG isn’t zoned for this density and we have been assured and promised multiple times by city staff that the S@SG parcel will never be rezoned to UC.
(Note that typical subdivisions in America have densities that range from 4-5 units per acre and duplexes and cluster housing is 6-8 units per acre. (https://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/larc301/lectures/housing.htm,
One source I found states that “high density residential” is 36-80 du/acre (https://www.mountainview.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?blobid=10694, pg 82).
Cities, and Centennial is included in this based on statements from staff, try to squeeze more density but manipulate the numbers by extending the “lot area” to include part of the street (https://www.theurbanist.org/2017/05/04/visualizing-compatible-density/, paragraph “Clarification of Gross vs Net Density.” Scroll down that webpage to “59 Dwelling Units Per Acre” to see an example of apartment densities and what those finished buildings look like.)
Here’s another website with density measurement info - http://densityatlas.org/measuring/
Also, the recent Lakewood, CO “no growth” initiative included the requirement that any projects with 40 or more units per acre go to city council for a vote.
A small group of neighborhood representatives began meeting with the city on March 5th at the Southglenn library. From that meeting until our last N4S@SG meeting, there have been sincere efforts to collaborate and find common ground.
But we have lost trust in Northwood Ravin Investors and the city. If trust is to be rebuilt, it will have to be done by those who share our sincere interest in finding a better plan than the two plans that have so far presented by the developers and sustained by the city staff.
Therefore, several weeks ago, we began conversations with leaders of Greenwood Village’s “Save our Village” initiative, the Lakewood “no growth” initiative leaders, and with others from whom we can learn. Why? We believe that it will be necessary to gather the petition signatures to force a special election that will have ballot language that assures any redevelopment will fit with the suburban, neighborhood culture we currently enjoy. The first step is to circulate a petition and get enough signatures to qualify for a ballot. Lots of work and we will need lots of support! Your support!
Of course, we will continue to embrace our principles of educating, collaborating and advocating for our interests. We are not opposed to the redevelopment, but we don’t want the current flavor being offered. It simply does not fit our suburban neighborhood area. We know that whatever comes to be will have a significant impact on our roads, schools and traffic. We insist that we have a seat at the table so we can defend our homes, neighborhoods and our way of life.
November 23, 2019
Many of us from our group attended (over 450) the city's second community meeting on November 19th. I think it is safe to say that most of us left the meeting feeling unsatisfied, unhappy, some angry and we are all are ready to fight against the plans to turn the neighborhood into an urban area. Our concerns or motives may be different (e.g., traffic, density, property values, etc), but we share a common goal. So, what are the next steps? We have some ideas and options - more on that in a minute.
Issues. The issues with the redevelopment plans are many and I've summarized some of those below:
Height; too tall - keep zoning for 50'
Set back - too close - increase from 25' to 50' to match setbacks to height limit
Density - too many add'l units in too small an area - transitions the neighborhood from suburban into urban area, which the neighboring property owners do not want.
Traffic Impact Study (TIS) - we're contacting our own consultant to help us identify the flaws in the TIS because we have serious doubts that the cut-though traffic metric (for example) is accurate (it's just common sense).
Concerns that no environmental studies were done (e.g. assess the existing traffic noise or air quality issues).
Dozens of traffic related questions were submitted via the developer to the traffic engineering firm prior to the community meeting. Very few of those questions were answered in the meeting. So, I have again asked the traffic engineering firm to address the questions.
The TIS has too little new data and instead relies on too many assumptions.
Next steps. The next steps include having the steering committee meet to plan (already scheduled). Several initial options are available, including:
Political - increase our messaging and pressure by asking all of us to email our city council to express our concerns and wishes. Use this email to send to all of them - email@example.com.
Community engagement - continuing to share with our neighbors to build awareness.
Legal - we have a good understanding of our options and that the options will shift depending on where a proposal is in the overall process. We are talking with those who have previously petitioned our city, in Greenwood Village and in Lakewood to learn from their successes and the lessons learned.
Community engagement - this is tied to #2 and #3 above because we will need to begin now to build our volunteer base in the event we need to file for a referendum. Having dozens of volunteers ready to go gather signatures is important. Note that a referendum becomes an option only after (if) we need to overturn a city council decision that approves the rezoning plans (Jan? Feb?).
The city's announced next steps are to hold pubic hearings beginning in January. As we learn more about the specifics, I will push out another email.
Until then, please send me an email if you want to help by getting signatures and volunteers.
Presentation notes. This is the posted city "reduced-final" version of the presentation. Slide 13 shows a timeline and includes the dates of when our group met with the developers to listen to them and to share our concerns. Although we had some success, the end result is that the developers don't fully understand or choose to set our concerns aside. Also note slides 21, 24, 26, 30, 37 for renderings of how the future will look - especially for those who live in Glenn Oaks Townhomes and Condominiums. Click here for the presentation.
November 5, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps:
Macy ’s Redevelopment
The Macy’s redevelopment will consist of demolition of the existing 174,693 sf of retail space and is expected to be replaced with five new buildings. It is also anticipated that the existing Macy’s Home Store (20,280 sf) will close, but that this space will remain and be leased by a new retail tenant. The proposed new buildings are described below.
The core of the Macy’s redevelopment is expected to include three new five-story mixed-use buildings.
• The southeast and southwest buildings are proposed to consist of first floor commercial open space and four levels of residential above. Each residential floor is estimated to consist of 30 to 31 units or up to 120 total DUs (i.e. apartments) per building. The commercial space in the southwest building is estimated to consist of 19,945 sf of retail space and a 30,000 sf entertainment space. The commercial space in the southeast building is estimated to consist of a 54,245 sf discount store.
• The northerly five-story building is expected to consist of 116,842 sf of office space over five floors.
The remaining two buildings are expected to be 6,000 sf pad sites for stand-alone retail.
The Sears redevelopment will consist of demolition of the existing 132,584 sf Sears building and a nearby 7,828 sf office building and is expected to be replaced by a smaller retail building and three new five-story residential buildings.
A total of 542,549 sf of residential is estimated to be split between the three five-story residential buildings at the southernmost end of the Streets at Southglenn site, with a total of 698 DUs (i.e. apartments).
About 34,770 sf of retail space is expected to be constructed in the location of the existing Sears. This construction is proposed to create two retail buildings adjacent to each other and north of the three residential buildings.
The sizes for each proposed land use identified above represent the highest use that could be accommodated within the zoning for the site. Further refinements to this development plan may occur that could reduce the development intensity, but these are the highest anticipated densities. The redevelopment is expected to retain the existing shopping center access points.
You can find it here 1/2 way down the page:
October 22, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps:
Correction. My last email was incorrect in saying that the city wasn’t going to hold any more meetings in 2019. The information I heard from a Centennial City elected official last week was not specific enough. Instead of “no more meetings” it is more correct to say “no public hearings” will be held in 2019 because I learned tonight from both developers that it’s likely that there will be another city sponsored meeting (but not a public hearing) before the end of the year. Let me explain.
Update. Monday night (Oct 21), was the latest small group meeting with representatives from the two developers (Alberta Development and Northwood Ravin). Also present was a representative from the traffic study firm hired by the developer, Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig.
Our small group learned about the scope, approach and outcomes of the traffic study including at least two traffic intersections surrounding the development where specific mitigation is being proposed. The mitigation is based on the city standard for traffic flow – level of service – and graded on a letter grade (A-F).
The traffic study is in the final approval process and is expected to be released to the public in the next 10 days or so. The city may elect to post the study (large file) on the website.
At about that time, it is possible that the city could announce a date and location for the 2nd Community Meeting, which is expected to be in mid-November. (Apparently a date has been selected but a location hasn’t been confirmed yet.) This will not be a public hearing but a presentation on the developer’s plans for the redevelopment. This includes presenting the traffic study, visuals and to reveal the number of apartment units, retail and commercial areas for the Sears and Macy’s properties.
Noise and air pollution were not included in the study because the city didn’t require the developer to include either in the study.
The developer expects to submit the Master Development Plan to the city in early December. If that occurs, the city is likely to have the first public hearing during a January 2020 Planning and Zoning meeting and the second public hearing by City Council likely to be in February.
October 18, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps:
All - yesterday several of us learned that the city will not hold any more meetings about the redevelopment of The Streets at SouthGlenn in 2019. This effectively puts the plans on hold until 2020 until after the next City Council is seated.
It is not uncommon for a city to resist making a major decision at this point in an election year. City Council is reluctant to act on a significant decision until a new council has been elected (which will be the case in less than 3 weeks), as those new Council members (at least three and maybe four individuals) won't be sworn in yet. It's not reasonable for the current City Council to make a decision that a future cohort will have to live with and be accountable for.
It's been an interesting 7+ months and we've all learned a lot!
October 14, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps:
To all 400 of you, you are awesome as you continue to share the information with your neighbors!
The naysayers from the spring and summer were saying that we (Neighbors for The Streets at SouthGlenn, “N4SASG”) were wasting our time, because either the plans were not yet final (like we're supposed to wait until then!) or because they believed the developer won't listen or care what we have to say. Well, you have and are making a difference. The developers have engaged and shared and cared. We're not there yet, but YES ... together, neighbors do matter and can have a positive role to play!
A planned small group meeting with the two developers and the traffic study firm was rescheduled, but will happen soon. I will update you on the outcomes of that meeting in which more will be learned about the details of the traffic study, the methodology used and the mitigation plans for the increase in traffic the redevelopment will cause.
The developers submitted the traffic study to the city about two weeks ago, and have been providing answers to the city’s questions. If needed, I'll schedule a large group meeting soon, unless the city schedules their 2nd community meeting in the coming weeks. No need to have two meetings, but there is a need to share what is known as soon as possible.
No - the developer has not submitted the rezoning request for the Master Development Plan (MDP).
Also, know that the city (not sure if staff or elected or both) don't like that our group exists and seeks to have a role. I don't know if it's a control issue or something else. The city still doesn't communicate out very much, primarily because I'm a candidate for City Council. Apparently, someone there believes that by sharing information with us (me) they are playing favorites in an election against the incumbent in the Centennial City Council election for District 1.
September 10, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps:
I want to thank you for sharing and including your neighbors in the discussion. The group now numbers close to 400 individuals. I think it’s fair to say that this group has had an amazing, positive effect on the direction of the redevelopment plans. Thank you for all of your efforts!
Although the developers have not yet submitted to the city their changes to the Master Development Plan (MDP), we are getting close. We’re still waiting for the traffic study, which is expected to be submitted to the city the week of Sep 16th.
From our meetings with the developers, they have expressed their plans to revise the scope and vision for the redevelopment by reducing the number of multi-family units from what was presented in January and March (i.e., the meeting at Sears). In addition, they have modified the scope of the traffic study based on the group’s input; increasing the duration to better encompass the school year, and by broadening the geographic area studied. They are willing to sit down with us to discuss our specific suggestions for the amenities, and to have detailed conversations regarding the traffic study.
These meetings are aligned to the “neighbors first, city second” principle. First, we came together as neighbors and created a nexus of interest that attracted the developer’s direct involvement. Second, the city will step in soon with another community meeting, yet, so far they have not been involved or attended any of the aforementioned small group meetings. So again, thanks for making this happen!
In summary, we’ve had three (Aug 8, Aug 26, Sep 10) of four planned small group meetings with the developers. All of these meetings were attended by neighborhood representatives with diverse perspectives from the surrounding neighborhoods. No meeting has had the same participants.
1. The first two meetings (Aug 8 and Aug 26) discussed the January City Council meeting and the March Sears presentations. During these meetings we shared our thoughts, concerns and questions. The developers listened and answered our questions, and we learned about their goals and intentions. We learned that the size and scope of the multi-family apartments will be less than first suggested.
2. At the third small group meeting on Sep 10, we discussed amenities, specifically offering our suggestions and ideas, and hearing their feedback on what is possible. In total, all the ideas and suggestions so far gathered – beginning from our first large group meeting (Apr 8) up to last week’s emails from individuals – were all included.
3. The 4thsmall group meeting is tentatively planned for late September. The focus of the meeting will be to discuss the traffic study in some detail. I have invited neighbors who have expertise and experience in traffic engineering to dissect and help us understand the study’s scope, process, metrics and the outcomes.
· Traffic study update (once released; next week?)
· I anticipate that the next Neighbors for The Streets at SouthGlenn large group meeting will be held in late September to early October.
August 8, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps
Notes from the August 8th meeting with both developers. The meeting was attended by a small group from the Neighbors for Streets at SouthGlenn.
Small group meeting
Why a small group meeting? Well, partly for meeting organization and partly because of space. For example, finding a location large enough to safely and legally allow us to meet is near impossible. For example, I checked with Arapahoe High School to see about renting their auditorium and I learned that we would need to provide insurance coverage. Other locations are pricy, like a theatre.
As most of you know, we’ve had two large group meetings in a nearby church. Although we weren’t busting at the seams, we did fill the room. Since that last meeting, we’ve added another over 100 people to our group.
Even so, once there’s updated information to share with you, I’ll schedule another large group meeting and figure out the space issues then. If you have a suggestion or solution, please let me know!
· Ten of us from the Neighbors for The Streets at SouthGlennmet with Don Provost (Alberta Development), Kyle Whitaker (Northwood Ravin) & Brian Cleary (Northwood Investors).
· The 90-minute meeting was open, direct and candid discussion (we still struggle with talking over each other though). There was no negotiation.
· The group emphasized that getting commitments in writing is very important, and reviewed the history of Littleton Village and how it soured west-Centennial residents who now no longer trust elected officials, staff and developers to keep commitments.
· We expect that Northwood Ravin will be a good neighbor. That they will meet or exceed the example set by Alberta Development in supporting the community (AHS parades, music festivals, etc).
· The topics discussed are below.
Desired amendments to the Master Development Plan (MDP) as of March:
1. Increase building height limit from 50’ to 100’. Since March, the developers have said that they will be asking for less (perhaps 52’-78’ to allow for 4-6 story building).
2. Reduce the total amount of retail from 909,815 to 500,000 sq feet. Likewise, this changes the ratio of mixed use (less retail and more residential).
3. Increase the number of allowed residential units from 350 units to a total of 1,950 units. Since March, the developers have said they will be reducing the count to an unspecified number.
· Often we’ll count a two story as 20’. In other words, each “story” is equal to 10’. That’s not accurate. It’s better to calculate as 13’ for each floor. So, four stories equates to ~52’. The actual height might shift down to 12.5’ per story, but the developers suggested using 13’.
· The traffic study is underway and has been extended an additional two weeks to account for the school-year traffic.
· The developer is adding traffic counters to update daily traffic counts.
· Traffic study is expected to continue into September and to be ready to be submitted to the city around late September or early October.
· We stressed our view that more community space and parks are in huge demand in west-Centennial.
· Adding both community spaces and parks will enhance and increase restaurant/retail traffic and make for more sales tax revenue, not less.
· The current development is partially funded on debt via bonds. Generally speaking (complicated), the property – via sales and property taxes – is responsible for managing and repaying the bond; not the city, developer, and not the residents. The property is called a metro district.
· We reminded Northwood Ravin/Investors that bond payment isn’t the residents concern or motivation.
Multi-family housing (apartments):
· The total number of units the developers are interested in building is being revised from the March number of 1600 units. Both parties expect that their revised concepts will include less residential.
· The developers have agreed and committed to having future communication, including providing our group with the plans (once updated and in a public form) so we can all meet to learn and discuss. They may or may not attend that meeting, and are open to as many meetings (within reason) as are helpful for the community to understand what they want to do, and to get our feedback on the development plans.
· We will continue to meet with the developers and will maintain communication. I’ll share out as I have updates regarding traffic study, etc.
· I anticipate that the next Neighbors for The Streets at SouthGlenn large group meeting will be held in mid/late September.
July 26, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps:
Last week I met with Don Provost of Alberta Development. Earlier this week, Kyle Whitaker of Northwood Ravin contacted me and invited me to meet with him on Thursday morning. His primary goal is to make clear that Northwood Ravin – based out of North Carolina, is always concerned about how their properties affect the nearby neighborhoods. He said that they build to keep and manage for the long term. He stressed that they don’t want to upset the neighborhoods and are open to listening.
Traffic update: We discussed the traffic study and I shared our concerns. Kyle said that he doesn’t expect that the traffic study will be completed until the end of August, at the earliest. This is partly because there will be new traffic counts made using street counting machines and these will be placed in the next 2-3 weeks. And although the time frame begins before the school year starts, he said that the traffic engineers will incorporate “standard” school year traffic counts in their study. He didn’t explain how this is to be done.
Kyle is willing to keep the communication open and active. He is willing to meet with a small group of HOA/CA leaders. I’ll set that up soon.
Please see the link below to download a flyer, which is the work of multiple people! There are some who want something to pass out to their neighbors, as many still are unaware of the redevelopment plans. Feel free to print out and distribute.
Our next meeting. I think we wait until the traffic study is done, unless there are other developments. Therefore, I don't expect that we will need to meet until the end of August or early September.
July 18, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps:
All - I wanted to update you on a meeting I had this week with Mr Don Provost who is the owner of Alberta Development Partners. LLC. They are one of the developers involved in the redevelopment. The meeting on July 16th was cordial and candid. We discussed only his part of the redevelopment, which is the former Macy’s property. Don cannot & did not speak on behalf of the other developer, Northwood Ravin. See my notes below.
Your efforts to share this group with others is amazing. In less than three weeks the number of individuals has grown from 220 to 343. Good job sharing the info with our neighbors!
Timing for Macy’s. First, there is an agreement that Macy’s will be in place until next May or so. How can they stay in business with such low sales? Well, I learned that many of the malls with box stores that were built in the 70’s were done with an agreement that the developer would deed over the land at no costto the box store. However, the box store was responsible to build their own building (costs, approvals, permits, etc.). This is what happened back in the day for both Sears and Macy’s. So, from a business model perspective, both stores need less than normal retail success to stay viable, because they don’t have any real estate costs. There is a P&L line to meet, which Sears couldn’t – but by and large, this legacy agreement allows for these box stores to stay in business a lot longer than they otherwise could.
Small group meeting with developer. Don agreed to meet with a small group, but no more than 10 of us. (I can't invite everyone, sorry!)
The sole purpose of the meeting is to discuss – not negotiate or debate. Not that he isn’t willing to be negotiable, but more that he isn’t ready to discuss/reveal what their plans will be in their formal submission. I believe that the formal submission will follow the traffic study by a couple of weeks.
Traffic Study. The most difficult part of yesterday’s conversation with Don was on the topic of traffic. His interests – and therefore costs - in the study end where the redevelopment project ends. However - and I tried to make this point twice - that our neighborhoods are impacted beyond that scope, and we need someone to help mitigate issues. I expect that this will have to be the city, via the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP). The traffic study is expected to be completed by mid/end of August.
Third Community Meeting? This proposed meeting would occur after the formal submission and afterthe referral period, and therefore when the plans are in final form. (The referral period is when the plans are sent to school districts, sheriff office, South Suburban, CenCON, and others for feedback.)
This meeting would be an “educational” forum for us to learn about the final, reviewed redevelopment plans, and ask questions. He said he’ll discuss with his team to discuss and get back with me. I’m optimistic.
Our next meeting. I think we wait until the traffic study is done, unless there are other developments.
July 6, 2019
Message from Ron Phelps:
As many know, both the Sears and Macy’s properties at The Streets at SouthGlenn has been sold to two developers, Northwood Ravin and Alberta Development. On January 7, 2019, developers Northwood Ravin and Alberta Development presented their initial vision to Centennial City Council on the redevelopment of The Streets at SouthGlenn, which included building an additional 1600 multi-family apartments, thereby replacing the Sears retail space.
On March 19th, the City of Centennial and the developers hosted a public community meeting in the former Sears building. Between 400-500 individuals attended to learn about the redevelopment plans and ask questions. The presented artist/architect visual representations were misleading and created distrust by neighbors towards the developers. In addition, the layout and format of the meeting was ineffective and inefficient for the large number of people who turned out and therefore the meeting was chaotic. In the end, the poor meeting resulted in more questions and concerns about what was going to happen at the former SouthGlenn Mall.
Concerns were discussed during neighborhood civic association meetings. Subsequently, I organized the “Neighbors for Streets at Southglenn“ group to facilitate learning about the redevelopment plans, and to create a unified neighborhood voice for our concerns, desires, and questions. Our goal is to uncover and distill the most important facts and become well-educated about the redevelopment. A founding key principle of our group is our willingness to collaborate as we explore, discuss, and debate in our effort to understand the current redevelopment plan, and propose workable alternatives. We are not an opposition group and not opposed to redevelopment, but we do have very serious concerns about the current plan. Specifically, concerns regarding how much the redevelopment will exacerbate current terrible traffic congestion and will multiply the volume of unsafe cut-through traffic around our schools. Additionally, we are concerned as how high-density, high-rise apartments will permanently alter our suburban neighborhood’s character. We recognize that the success or failure of the redevelopment will have a significant impact on the financial health of our city, and we are dedicated to helping our city succeed.
Our group has been extremely successful and has met three times to date. Approximately 300 concerned citizens from over a dozen HOAs and Civic Associations in Centennial and Greenwood Village have signed up to participate thus far, and the group continues to grow each week.