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 December 3, 1999

Real Estate: Safeway Marketplace rises at last on Harmony Road

FORT COLLINS — Buildings finally are sprouting in the long-fallow vacant lots adjacent to the Safeway store on East Harmony Road, and developer Larry Gilleland couldn’t be happier.

After all, it’s been five years since the Harmony Safeway Marketplace went to the Fort Collins planning department for approval of the inline shopping center, and the road has been a bumpy — and costly — one.

Other developments, such as the similarly named Harmony Marketplace anchored by King Soopers on Harmony near College Avenue, have raced to completion. But Gilleland’s project had been stymied while tenants filled the competing project a mile to the west.

A hint of bitterness creeps through when Gilleland describes his experience.

“We’ve had a long and very difficult process in getting this development to the stage of approval,” he said last week. “I’ll say for the record that we are not interested in doing another development in Fort Collins. I would love to live in Fort Collins. It’s a great place. But I just don’t want to do any more business there.”

First, the Denver-based developer with the Barclay Group Inc. had to meet requirements that extensive stormwater drainage systems be built. Then residents of the nearby Golden Meadows subdivision sought and won provisions in Gilleland’s permit that “traffic calming devices,” including raised crosswalks and a roundabout, be paid for out of Barclay Group’s pocket.

Meanwhile, projects with a somewhat easier path began hanging the “for-lease” signs in new storefront windows.

“Why did things take longer than we thought? We suddenly had a lot of competition, and now we don’t,” Gilleland said. “But what we do have are what we think are the top-quality tenants.”

Long’s Drug Stores, a co-anchor with Safeway since the project’s inception, is taking shape east of the supermarket. Between the two, a 16,000-square-foot building that will house relative newcomers Perfect Teeth, Cost Cutters and Liquor Emporium is going up fast.

The developer earlier this year sold off two parcels that hold down the corners of the 20-acre site. Greeley-based Centennial Bank of the West paid $700,000 for its acre-plus on the northwest corner of Harmony Road and McMurray Avenue. Village Inn Restaurants Inc. paid just slightly less, $600,000, for its pad at Harmony and Wheaton Drive.

Next to Centennial Bank, Blockbuster Video is planning its fifth Fort Collins location on a foundation that was poured last week.

Sharing space in the Long’s Drugs building will be Jason’s Deli, the only homegrown business in the mix so far.

“It’s moving pretty fast,´ said David Stolte, project manager and vice president of Sinnett Builders Inc., which holds a $2.1 million contract to finish work on the 23,500 square feet of space enclosed in the two buildings just east of Safeway.

“The contract calls for 165 calendar days from the permit date, so we’re looking at April,” Stolte said.

Gilleland said that when the project is built out and filled, the drawing power will be similar to the attraction that has made the King Soopers-anchored Harmony Marketplace an almost overnight success.

“We overbuild our centers,” he said. “Historically, consumers follow the chic. That’s why the Harmony Marketplace is so successful. ä But it also takes quality tenants. We wanted tenants that blend in and benefit from one another, and that’s the mix we have.”

Tom Hacker can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683, (800) 440-3506 or via e-mail at thacker@ncbr.com. His fax number is (970) 221-5432.

FORT COLLINS — Buildings finally are sprouting in the long-fallow vacant lots adjacent to the Safeway store on East Harmony Road, and developer Larry Gilleland couldn’t be happier.

After all, it’s been five years since the Harmony Safeway Marketplace went to the Fort Collins planning department for approval of the inline shopping center, and the road has been a bumpy — and costly — one.

Other developments, such as the similarly named Harmony Marketplace anchored by King Soopers on Harmony near College Avenue, have raced to completion. But Gilleland’s project had been stymied while tenants filled the competing project a mile to…

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