Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce CEO Gives Update, Addresses Concerns About Foothills Mall Renovation
I moved to Fort Collins in 2004; and even then, the Foothills Mall was disappointing. And it's only gotten worse as more and more businesses abandon their storefronts, and larger and larger partitions of the mall get walled off. It's just sad at this point. So I, personally, am thrilled that the Foothills Mall is being renovated. However...
Some local residents have raised some legitimate concerns, though; and that's why Chamber of Commerce Chairman and CEO David May took to his blog to give everyone an update.
You can read the entire blog post by clicking the button below, but here are some highlights:
First, May covers how much the renovation is costing.
The developer will invest $312 million - $230 million for the mall and $82 million for nearby residential.
Then he discusses how the new development will benefit the city.
The City estimates that the revitalized mall will generate $117 million in new sales tax revenue over the next 25 years.
Next, comes the issue of the city providing aid for the project.
The Chamber has been supportive of ‘incentives’ for primary employers to attract or retain their payrolls in the community because of the huge economic benefit. Our approach on retail recruitment as been more hands off. In essence, our view has been that if there is disposable income in the community, retail will follow.
Naturally, some people feel like the city shouldn't get to pick-and-choose which businesses get assistance, and which don't. In response, May says:
The concern that a publicly-backed retail project is unfair to other retail areas is worthy of consideration. Is the city government picking winners and losers? Another angle on this is that a revitalized mall keeps shoppers in town and attracts nonresidents. People coming to the mall also shop in other parts of the city while they are here. But the key is they first have to be here. An attractive regional mall will keep and bring shoppers to Fort Collins.
That last explanation seems a little weak to me; but that doesn't change my opinion about the mall being a good thing overall.
What do you think about this gigantic redevelopment project? Is it good for Fort Collins? Let us know why or why not, down in the comments section!