Plans for Sundance

New owners like potential of shopping center


— The new owners of Sundance Plaza envision a day when the shopping center straddles both sides of Anglers Drive, and the buildings embrace Fish Creek rather than backing up to it.

The new owners are Jim and Susan Larson of Steamboat Springs, principles in a limited liability company, AlpenGlow Ventures. The Larsons' son, Bob Larson, will manage the shopping center. Their broker and management company is Colorado Group Realty of Steamboat.

AlpenGlow paid Litchfield Equities Group LLC $5.58 million for Sundance Plaza, a strip mall dating to the early 1980s. They paid another $1.2 million for 15 undeveloped acres immediately across Anglers Drive.

Cook said the purchase of the s shopping center was based first on good economics, and second on future development potential.

"It has a stable cash flow and the purchase price," is justified by that fact, Cook said. "From that stand point alone, it was a good investment."

There are currently no empty storefronts in the shopping center, which has tenants ranging from government offices such as a branch post office to a liquor store.

Bob Larson said the new owners do not have a background in development. He said his parents have a commitment to philanthropy and are interested in projects that are good for Steamboat.

"They want to do it because it's a good thing for the community," Larson said. "It's a chance to work together as a family, but also to improve a great resource in Steamboat.

"It seems like a no-brainer to improve (the shopping center) and make the existing tenants happy."

Cook said the shopping center's tenants needn't worry about being squeezed out by plans to redevelop the property the process could take 5 to 10 years.

"We recognize the potential to redevelop at some point in time to better address the creek," cook said. "It is our long-term goal to explore ways to have better interaction between the center and the creek."

Cook noted that the Safeway store, opposite the Sundance Plaza on the south side of the creek recently invested in excess of $5 million in remodeling the store. In addition, there are two new medical office buildings immediately east of Sundance on Rolling Stone Drive and across Rolling Stone, the upscale Anglers Preserve subdivision is taking shape.

"It starts to make this area pretty viable," Cook said. He said he would like to see better pedestrian connections between surrounding residential and commercial projects and Sundance. The current buzzword used in the development industry for redeveloped strip malls is "neighborhood centers."

Cook envisioned a day when the redeveloped shopping center would feature enhanced natural areas along the stream bank where a string quartet might entertain for people enjoying lunch outdoors.

Cook and Larson would like to see the undeveloped land across Anglers host informal outdoor events this summer, perhaps hosting athletic events, or some kind of commercial fair.

Eventually, they anticipate building a new commercial center on the north side of Anglers, with select existing tenants moving across the street to make room for redevelopment of the existing center.

However, they have no definite plans at this point.


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