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Long road to recovery, but Colorado Mills reopens after six months

Reconstruction will continue into 2018


Six months after a devastating hailstorm closed its doors, Colorado Mills Mall is reopening — at least partially — just in time for the holiday season.

The mall, 14500 W. Colfax Ave, opens to shoppers again at 10 a.m. on Nov. 21.

"We've been waiting for this day for six months, and it's fitting that we're opening on the week of Thanksgiving," said Kimra Perkins, the mall's general manager. "We're so grateful for the thousands of people who worked to make this possible."

At 1.1 million square feet, Colorado Mills is the largest outlet retail center in the state, with 119 outlet and value retail stores. More than 100 of these businesses and restaurants will open in November and December, including J. Crew Factory, LEGO, Burlington and Victoria's Secret.

Stores will continue opening into 2018, and construction will continue during the evenings through early 2018 to finish repairs and updates required to return the mall to 100 percent.

"We wanted to focus on getting people back to work," Perkins said. "That's why we're opening at this early date, with the support of the city, fire department and so many others."

Some tenants with exterior entrances, including the Yard House restaurant, Dick's Sporting Goods, Yoga Pad, Super Target, JumpStreet and UA Colorado Mills Stadium 16 have been open for months.

The May 8 storm, which predominately hit the west metro area, severely damaging the roof and flooding stores throughout.

The malll closure has cost the city about $300,000 to $350,000 a month in tax revenue, said Larry Dorr, Lakewood's finance director. If the mall had remained closed in its entirety through November, that amount would total about $2 million in lost revenue this year.

During Lakewood's budget process in September and October, Dorr spoke about the closure's effect on the city's finances.

Taxes from sales at the mall contributed to about 6 percent of Lakewood's general fund, which pays for everything from police to community resources, Dorr said. Last year the mall contributed about $7.12 million in sales taxes to the general fund.

“We wouldn't be fiscally responsible if we weren't mindful of the mall's closure,” he told the council earlier. “We're forecasting a $2.7 million reduction because of the Mills closure.”

For years, Lakewood has been careful about its reserves, which Dorr noted will help with the loss of income from the Mills. By using money from the city's reserves, the loss will not affect any programs in the city.

Due to the unexpected closure, about 3,000 mall employees found themselves without work. To help the unemployed, Jefferson County's American Job Center, Target and other companies stepped up to provide temporary job options to those in need.

"I had six employees before the storm and, luckily, they're all coming back," said Mailie Medina, owner of Kataluma Chai, a tea and coffee cafe which is located near Dick's Sporting Goods. Kataluma received severe water damage and lost much of its wood furniture as well. "We've been working all night, but we're ready to serve our customers again."


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