The Longmont Economic Development Partnership represents Longmont every day as we compete against communities across the globe for new investment and new job creation opportunities. Today, Longmont is experiencing one of the most dynamic times in our city’s history, and in 2016, we gained solid momentum in turning the ambitious plans of the Advance Longmont strategy into reality.
This forecast analyzes changes that have occurred in all economic sectors during the past year, and looks at the opportunities and challenges that will shape population, employment, and the overall economy in the coming year. The information in this book is initially presented at the fifty-second annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forum in Denver, followed by approximately 50 forecast speeches that are held throughout the state during the year, ranging from presentations to industry associations and nonprofit organizations to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. View the book.
Although Vacancy rates have slightly gone up and absorption rates are slightly negative for retail, Boulder and Northwest regions totaled over 150,000 square feet of new construction this past quarter. Q2 2016 Capital Markets Trends-Retail
Boulder also decreased vacancy rates for office space and absorbed over 16,000 square feet. Boulder-2016Q2-OFF
Most people have heard of it but not everyone is grasping the potential impact that this growing technology could have on our world. Augmented reality is a technology that integrates digital information with the user’s real environment, most recognizable in the newest popular app, Pokémon GO. Virtual reality is the better-known technology that creates an immersive digital experience and is combining with augmented reality to create a new very high potential technology called mixed reality, which combines aspects of both augmented and virtual reality. This new technology is predicted to soon have a multi-billion dollar industry and will have the capability to change the world.
Pokémon GO has created a frenzy as well as doubling the value of Nintendo after releasing the app just over two weeks ago. The game creates certain engagement with the real world that has benefited certain businesses that have allowed their shops to be locations within the game. These shops have seen a significant increase in foot traffic due to the app. Numerous businesses and startup companies are jumping on this train including Microsoft, all attempting to break the divide between reality and virtual, the implications of this are huge.
Real estate is an industry that depends on consumer experience of a property or location before committing to it. This can be difficult and costly for many reasons, but imagine if one could experience these properties remotely? Virtual tours are realistically something that will be frequently used in this industry in the near future and would eliminate the necessity to create brochures and other marketing tactics. This technology will change the industry and that is just one of the many numerous applications that it possesses. Imagine being able to see how a different color paint job or new furniture would look in your home, or how an outfit would look on you, seeing all of this while laying on the couch in your living room. Being able to experience a product first-hand in this way will lead to monumental impacts, from business to everyday life.
There has been a recent decline in deal volumes (down approximately 10%), mainly due to a large decline from the Manhattan market. Other markets, including Denver, still show significant gains in the percentage volume of retail deals and overall pricing is holding firm. Check out the full report Q2 2016 Capital Markets Trends-Retail
In both Longmont and Fort Collins, city planners and developers are touting the effects of revamped shopping centers about to open.
Longmont’s $90 million Village at the Peaks project at 1250 S. Hover Road is slated to open in November. In Fort Collins, the new $313 million Foothills Mall at 215 E. Foothills Parkway has a grand opening set for Friday, Nov. 13. Nordstrom Rack and H&M clothing store will kick off the grand opening with plans to open in October. Government officials offered tax-increment financing to jump-start development in both cities, and the follow-on effects have been phenomenal.
Longmont: Not all happy
In Longmont, Sports Authority soon will move into a 32,280-square-foot spot at Village at the Peaks. The regional sports retailer was looking for more space than its current location at 2251 Ken Pratt Boulevard, said Allen Ginsborg, managing director at NewMark Merrill Mountain States, the company overseeing the Village project.
Cotton Burden, owner of Burden Inc., is not happy about Sports Authority’s planned move. The company has a lease at the Village at Burlington location through fall 2017, Burden said.
“(Village at the Peaks brokers) cannibalized our Sports Authority, and they tried to cannibalize every tenant we had, but what they did was contrary to the understanding that they had with the city,” Burden said. “The goal was to bring in new business.”
Longmont’s urban renewal authority approved more than $27 million in tax-increment financing for the new shopping center with a requirement that more than 80 percent of the companies there would be new to Longmont.
For his part, Ginsborg said that Sports Authority officials said the Longmont store would have closed and the company would “exit the market” if it didn’t make plans to move to the new location. Sports Authority officials were not immediately available for comment.
The mix of retailers, restaurants and entertainment is planned to be “contemporary” to help the new shopping center succeed, Ginsborg said. Critics have complained that not enough apparel retail shops are included in the project.
“Our project wasn’t designed to be a fashion project. It’s designed to be a contemporary retail center,” Ginsborg said “The reason (Twin Peaks) Mall failed is that it wasn’t contemporary.”
A luxury Regal Theater, a Whole Foods grocery store with its emphasis on prepared foods, and Wyatt’s Wet Goods Wine and Spirits next to Whole Foods all will delight shoppers, Ginsborg said. Both Regal and Whole Foods upped their planned square footage after the project started, he said.
“They have targeted this as an upscale area,” Ginsborg said. “It is a wonderful place to celebrate Longmont. That’s the main vision that I have for this.”
The Village at the Peaks opening will benefit retail areas in all of southwest Longmont, said Don Macy, who owns St. Vrain Centre on the west side of Hover Road, directly across the street from the new shopping area, as well as several other developed and undeveloped parcels nearby. Macy said his lease rates are about half the price for space at Village at the Peaks, and it’s easier for customers to get to his businesses, whether they’re headed to Sprouts Farmers Market at 1101 S. Hover Road, the nearby PetSmart, or to other surrounding shops and restaurants. Macy declined to give specific lease rates. Party City, at 900 S. Hover Road, also will stay where it is.
“Overall, it’s going to be helpful to us,” Macy said. “Our (shops) have higher visibility and easier access.”
Noodles and Co. at 1087 S. Hover Road, is doing an expensive remodel, and “they’re happy with where they are,” Macy said. Other restaurateurs call almost continually looking for space, but Macy said he turns them down.
There’s “a plethora of restaurants” on the southwest side of town already, Macy said.
Just north of the Village at the Peaks, “two deals” are in the works for new tenants in the former Walmart building, according to Tom Castle, a commercial broker at Sullivan Hayes Cos.’ Colorado Boulevard office in Denver. It’s premature to announce the tenants since no decision has been reached yet, Castle said. A fitness chain may be one tenant, while a home furnishings store could be another, based on information filed with a Longmont economic development office.
“We’re keeping a close eye on Longmont. We like that market,” Castle said. “It’s a great community with people who need retail services.”
Boulder developer David Chaknova bought the former Johnny Carino’s restaurant property at 2033 Ken Pratt Blvd. Chaknova was not immediately available for comment about what he plans to do with the property.