Town Center North, the final frontier for commercial development in Highlands Ranch, continues to take shape with multiple businesses in the planning stages or having already made the leap through the approval process.
A car wash is under construction on the north end, and Christian Brothers Automotive has already been approved for a 4,000-square-foot repair shop to be located at the southeast corner of Lucent Boulevard and Town Center Drive. Chick-Fil-A also has plans to build a second Highlands Ranch restaurant at the corner of Highlands Ranch Parkway and Town Center Drive.
Another fast food chain looking to build a second eatery in the community, Wendy’s, came in front of the Highlands Ranch Community Association’s Developmental Review Committee May 1 to discuss plans for a 3,200-square-foot restaurant at the corner of Highlands Ranch Parkway and Hepburn Street. Corporate representatives from the chain were asked to return June 5 with modifications and clarifications to their site plan before the DRC will grant approval.
Also on the DRC agenda next month will be Town Center Self Storage, a five-building storage facility being discussed for the southeast corner of Town Center Drive and SSG Chris Falkel Drive. According to a site improvement plan filed with Douglas County, the facility calls for one three-story storage building, three one-story storage buildings, a caretaker residence, and a paved loop driveway. Access to the facility will be off of SGT Jon Stiles Drive and construction is proposed to begin later this year.
Not all happy with direction
There has been much talk over the past couple years in HRCA board of directors and delegate meetings over the distaste for the way in which Town Center is being built out. However, as Board President Scott Lemmon pointed out at April’s delegate meeting, there is not much the HRCA can do to stop who leases or buys land from Shea Properties, the developer that owns all of the property in Town Center.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re all worried about Town Center North and are tired of seeing the fast food restaurants,” Lemmon said. “But we don’t have a big checkbook; we’re not going to go buy land. It’s about building bridges and influencing folks.”
And while the HRCA continues to build those bridges with Shea, Town Center continues to get build out. Community reactions appear mixed.
A scientific community survey conducted by the National Research Center Inc. last fall was completed by a random sampling of 1,307 Highlands Ranch residents and with a 95 percent rate of confidence. In it, 53 percent of respondents rated the preferred mix of restaurant choices as fair or poor and 51 percent said the quality of restaurants was fair or poor in Highlands Ranch. Multiple people also commented on the survey that they were not pleased with the lack of independent business in Town Center and that there were too many fast food restaurants.
Approached in front of the Town Center Target, Highlands Ranch resident Brad Chapman said he was “absolutely” in favor of every single one of the currently proposed or approved businesses, with the exception of the storage unit which he called “an eyesore” and said would be better located along Santa Fe Drive.
Area resident Sandra Hanna agreed on the storage unit, but had a different viewpoint on the fast food chains, saying that “there are too many fast food places already” and she would prefer to see more independently owned restaurants come to town.