Centennial's Streets at SouthGlenn redevelopment plan submitted

Proposal faces votes by city council, and planning and zoning commission


A crowd of more than 100 came to the empty former Sears at Centennial’s flagship shopping center in a March 2019 meeting that placed redevelopment plans in the public eye — and in August 2020, one of the developers announced he expected to formally submit plans to the city in the coming weeks.

Fast-forward nearly a year later, and the plans that could reshape The Streets at SouthGlenn complex have finally been submitted to city officials.

Area residents in 2019 primarily voiced concerns about the potential for more traffic around the outdoor mall in Centennial, which sits at East Arapahoe Road and South University Boulevard, a major intersection in the south metro area. They also objected to the possibility of apartment buildings sitting across the street from the less-dense neighborhood nearby.

Roughly 400 people filled the seats at a November 2019 meeting at Powell Middle School in a second community meeting about the plans, an unruly gathering that underscored the continued frustration some residents feel toward the project.

Developers want to revitalize the mall, which has fought recent vacancies and is facing the expectation that its Macy’s store could close in coming years. Because the developers want to change the mix of types of properties allowed, their plans need the city’s approval.

The mall is a top source of tax revenue for Centennial, but it’s pulling in a smaller proportion of funds than it used to.

With the redevelopment plans now formalized, the public can review the developers’ proposal and give feedback. Ultimately, the plans must undergo scrutiny from the Centennial Planning and Zoning Commission, a body of citizens who make development recommendations to city council. Then it faces a city council vote, an event that could be months away.

Here’s a look at what may change and what a study says about SouthGlenn traffic concerns.

History of changes

SouthGlenn was originally the large, indoor Southglenn Mall built in the 1970s, and Sears and Macy’s were components of that mall. SouthGlenn’s outdoor shopping center layout replaced the former mall in 2009.

The Sears closed near the end of 2018. The Macy’s isn’t likely to close in the immediate future, but developers expect it to shutter in the next few years.

The Macy’s building was constructed in 1981, according to Arapahoe County assessor’s records. Macy’s West Stores Inc. sold it to Alberta Development Partners in February 2018 for $10 million, records show.

What could change in coming years

The former Sears property is owned by Northwood Investors, which wants to add apartments there. Alberta Development Partners — which controls nearly all of SouthGlenn — wants to put in apartments and office space, and retail and entertainment establishments, where Macy’s stands.

The two developers want to make the following changes:

• Increase the allowed number of residential units from 350 to a total of 1,125 units. Currently, there are 214 residential units in the existing Portola at SouthGlenn apartment building. New units would likely be high-end like at the Portola.

(Previous information on the proposal indicated that developers wanted to increase the allowed number of residential units to a total of 1,273 units. The formal submittal proposes an overall lower number of new apartments than earlier versions of the plan.)

• Modify the allowed building height on the former Sears land and the Macy’s land from 50 feet to 75 feet. The current allowable building heights in The Streets at SouthGlenn vary across the site. No building is allowed to exceed 100 feet. For context, the current tallest building is the office building north of the existing Sears property at 85 feet, according to the city’s website.

• The core of the Macy’s redevelopment is expected to include five-story mixed-use buildings, according to details from the proposal’s traffic study. The Sears redevelopment would consist of a smaller retail building and three new five-story residential buildings.

• Provide an open-space area along the north side of Easter Avenue to serve residential development at the former Sears land. The redevelopment would be required to include a minimum of 25,000 square feet of public open space, green space, “passive recreation” or common public space to serve that development, according to the city website.

• Decrease the required amount of retail space from 909,815 square feet to 621,000 square feet. Currently, there is 948,853 square feet of leasable retail area, including the former Sears and Macy’s buildings, which are approximately 307,000 square feet combined.

Alberta Development Partners and Northwood Investors submitted their plans to the city on June 22. The application was deemed complete on July 20, and the plans are now under the city’s review process, according to the city’s website.

Traffic recommendations

The proposal came with a companion study on the impact the redevelopment would have on traffic.

Along Arapahoe Road, Race Street, University Boulevard and Easter Avenue — which form SouthGlenn’s perimeter — most of the changes in the morning and afternoon would be less than a 10% increase and “do not represent significant changes to traffic flow,” according to the study by Felsburg, Holt and Ullevig, an engineering and planning firm.

The study notes that residential communities surrounding SouthGlenn have expressed concerns about SouthGlenn traffic using neighborhood streets to avoid congestion along adjacent roadways — referred to as “cut-through traffic.”

“A review of existing traffic counts indicates that less than 5 percent of the trips from the Streets at Southglenn currently travel between the development and each of the neighborhoods surrounding the project site,” the study says.

It adds: “We believe that the potential for traffic from the new development to travel through the adjacent neighborhoods to avoid congestion is low.”

The study made the following observations and recommendations:

• The Arapahoe Road and Vine Street intersection operates below the accepted level of service under existing and “background” conditions. To improve the level of service, the implementation of “split-phasing” signal timing to allow protected left turns from the northbound and southbound approaches on Vine Street is proposed.

• Due to safety and operational concerns, it is recommended that the University Boulevard and Davies Avenue intersection be converted to a “right-in / right-out” intersection. That is expected to reduce the above-average number of approach-turn crashes at the intersection.

The traffic study is dated November 2019 and was revised this July, but it appears to reach the same conclusions and recommendations as the earlier version did.

Centennial Colorado, Streets at SouthGlenn, redevelopment, apartments, Sears, Macys, Ellis Arnold


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.