By Darin Atteberry, City Manager, City of Fort Collins. (The following article was submitted to the Fort Collins Coloradoan on September 2, 2012. Here is it again in case you missed it!)
Fort Collins has worked hard to build a community where people choose to live, work and play — to create a community that allows them to thrive. The last few months have proven that the appeal of Fort Collins is as strong as ever.
Earlier this summer, Foothills Mall was purchased for redevelopment by Walton Street Capital and Alberta Development Partners. The development team has been working with numerous city departments to flesh out redevelopment plans and site improvements. Although they’re not ready to share details, the initial ideas and concepts include a great mix of traditional mall space, street-front shops, open-air restaurants, a theater, skating rink and other community gathering spaces.
Redevelopment of this property has been a very high priority for the city for a long time, so I’m excited that we now have real progress. Our community deserves a premier shopping facility in the midtown area and now it’s going to happen. Construction is still months away, but the hope is to have a new mall open and ready for business by the holiday season of 2014.
The mall redevelopment, coupled with the progression of the Mason Corridor, is inspiring investment and interest in Midtown. In partnership with area business owners, land owners and residents, the city is developing a vision and associated land use tools to guide the design of future redevelopment. When complete, the study will identify opportunities to further enhance streetscapes and improve multi-modal connectivity. Ultimately the Midtown Study will act as a framework to encourage strategic and purposeful redevelopment that complements the existing successful businesses in the area.
The downtown area is also ripe with opportunity. Recently, Woodward announced that they are considering Fort Collins as the location for a company expansion. The site under consideration, known as the Lincoln Triangle, has a rich mix of history, progress and potential. As a city, we’re looking for high-quality development that reflects the values of this community. Woodward’s commitment to innovation, green technology, the environment and community is truly representative of Fort Collins.
Their plans call for the new facilities to be “flexible and functional, providing an environment for collaboration and innovation while fitting in well with the surroundings.” I believe Fort Collins would be an optimal fit. Although Woodward is looking at other locations, they have responded well to our invitation to be an integral part of Fort Collins’ future, just as they have been for the past 60-plus years.
These projects, coupled with other economic efforts, make this an exciting time to live in Fort Collins. It’s no wonder so many of us choose to live, work and play here.