Eastbridge at Stapleton taking off

Eastbridge at Stapleton taking off
By John Rebchook  June 2015

When most people think of the stores next to a grocery store anchor they might envision a dry cleaners, a hair salon and a Subway, according to Denver developer Tyler Carlson, a principal of Evergreen Development.

That won’t be the case at the Eastbridge Town Center at Stapleton, he said.

“I think we are going to redefine what can be done in an urban context town center at Eastbridge,” Carlson said on Thursday, as a panel member at the 2015 Retail Summit & Expo hosted by the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

Evergreen has teamed up with City Street Investors, formed by the principals who are best known for leasing and managing Larimer Square for more than 20 years, to develop the 22,000-square-foot Eastbridge center at Martin Luther King Drive and Havana Street.

Construction on Eastbridge is expected to start in November, with store openings projected by early fall 2016.

A number of Stapleton residents have been protesting a planned 58,000-square-foot King Soopers that will anchor Easte.

“There has been some pushback from residents that would like to see the King Soopers scaled back,” said Carlson, who lives in Stapleton.

However, he said he thinks the town center his joint-venture team is developing will help to offset some of the criticisms of the King Soopers.

Eastbridge will be designed by Scott Higa of G3 Architecture.

Indeed, acclaimed restaurateur Troy Guard, who lives in Stapleton, is the first tenant to sign a deal in the center.

Guard is planning two restaurants in the center.

Los Chingones at Eastbridge will be similar to the restaurant of the same name in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood. It will have a total of 6,760 square feet. Los Chingones at Eastbridge will have 2,500 square feet on the ground floor, a 1.760-square-foot patio and a 2,500-square-foot rooftop deck.

The other will be a yet-to-be-named breakfast concept, which will have 2,500 square feet.. It will feature dishes such as grilled lamb neck Benedict, Moroccan chicken hash and a farmer’s market frittata.

“I have always wanted to do a breakfast concept,” said Guard, whose other restaurants include TAG, TAG Burger Bar, bubu and Guard and Grace.

“A cool breakfast spot is something Stapleton residents have been wanting in the Eastbridge Town Center for a long time,” Guard added.

Pat McHenry, a principal of City Street Investors, said the project ultimately will have eight to 12 tenants, with the majority of them local businesses.

“The people in Stapleton are Denverites,” McHenry said.

“They went there for the school system and bigger floor plans,” she said. “When you consider yourself a Denverite, you have certain expectations.”

That means they won’t do cookie-cutter developments with the same national retailers you can find anywhere.

“We’re working with other hip, cool retailers and are excited to be a part of something that’s authentic, local and part of the community.”

In addition to McHenry, the other principals in City Street Investors are and Rod Wagner. All three also are principals of Larimer Associates, which owns Larimer Square. They also are involved in the redevelopment of Denver Union Station.

City Street was looking for a site in Stapleton to develop a concept similar to the Larimer Associates’ Hangar 2 project at Lowry.

Hangar 2 is a retail destination surrounding the 110,000-square-foot historic hangar directly west of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

They agreed the ideal site was in the Eastbridge Town Center, which was controlled by Evergreen.

Carlson was thrilled to bring on City Street Partners.

“We have great partners with the Larimer Square folks and Forest City,” Carlson said at the CREJ conference at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center.

He said he likes to do joint ventures.

“We have partnered with a number of other developers, who we should be competing against,” Carlson said.

“It’s is more fun that way.”

Forest City Stapleton Inc. is the master developer of the former airport.

“Stapleton has won acclaim because its authentic urban neighborhoods provide pedestrian friendly and bicycle access to small retail of the type City Street is planning to bring to the Eastbridge Town Center,” said Jim Chrisman, senior vice president with Forest City Stapleton.

“As Stapleton residents, Tyler Carlson and Troy Guard understand their community’s ‘special DNA’ and I am confident their development in the Eastbridge Town Center will be a tremendous success,” Chrisman said.

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