Sierra Commercial Real Estate is tapping into an underserved retail market in Monument and creating one of the largest retail developments in El Paso County.
Located just off Jackson Creek Parkway, between Highway 105 and Interstate 25, Monument Market Place will provide 650,000 square feet of retail space, said Mark Useman, senior marketing director for the real estate company.
The center, which features Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Kohl’s as anchor stores, is one of the few local developments with three major national retailers. Chili’s will be the first chain restaurant in the new development.
“Growth has been limited in that region for years,” Useman said. “Inside the city of Monument, they’ve had some office space, but not a lot of retail space. We were able to get 88 acres of land, and get ahead of the crowd. The Tri-Lakes area is one of the most highly sought after places to live in El Paso County; but the retail market is definitely not overbuilt.”
The area welcomes the new development, and the money it will bring to the city, said Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce President Steve Spry.
“The biggest thing is that it will bring in sales tax revenue,” he said. “And we’ll be able to improve the downtown area, and some of the parks. It will really improve the dynamics of the community. We can add some improvements to the open spaces as well.”
The development also will bring more jobs to the area, Spry said.
“People won’t have to commute 20 or 30 minutes into the Springs,” he said. “And we need this kind of general services and other developments in the area.”
Kohl’s will break ground in March, and Wal-Mart has started grading the land for its 280,000 square foot store. Both will open in October, Useman said. Chili’s is scheduled to open in early spring.
The Monument Kohl’s is one of 200 stores the company plans to open next year.
“In seeing the changes in the current competitive landscape, we have made adjustments in our expansion plan to put ourselves in a position to take advantage of real estate opportunities that might present themselves,” said Larry Montgomery, chairman and chief executive officer of Kohl’s, in a news release announcing the company’s long-term business plans. “We expect much of this to come together over the next six to nine months.”
The Wal-Mart Supercenter is one of 280 locations the retail giant plans to open in 2006, increasing store space by 60 million square feet.
Commercial retail growth in the Tri-Lakes area has been limited by a lack of suitable space, Useman said. When the company started Monument Market Place, they took advantage of an area that has not seen much commercial growth during the past few years.
“The King Soopers opened eight years ago,” he said. “The Safeway Center was opened about 12 years ago. But that’s been it for large development. And people are tired of driving to North Academy or out to Powers for retail shopping. We think this is the way to go; and we’re the first to be successful to capture the national tenants there. We haven’t seen that before. We’re catering to the demand that is already there.”
Despite some negative impressions about Wal-Mart, Useman said he believes the supercenter will bring down prices at the other grocery stores in the area. Kohl’s will be the first major clothing retailer in Monument.
“They’re maintaining the small-town feel in downtown Monument,” he said. “But this will provide much needed services to the area.”
In addition to the three anchors, the space has three free-standing buildings that total 21,000 square feet. Twelve tenants will eventually fill the space.
Next to the interstate, Sierra is negotiating to fill six restaurant pads. A 9,000- square-foot liquor store and the Village Inn, both facing Jackson Creek Parkway, complete the retail site.
Much of the space is still empty, leaving Sierra to seek “junior box anchors.”
“That’s our next phase,” Useman said. “We’re looking at stores like Petco, PetSmart, those types of tenants. We’re gearing up to attract those stores next.”
National players, such as Wal-Mart, bring in other retailers, Useman said.
“When you see guys like this in the market, you know there is a real interest,” he said. “The area has the highest income, averaging $114,000 – higher than most areas in El Paso County. And they are underserved when it comes to restaurants, retail shopping and other services. This will keep people closer to home.”
The retail development is following rooftops, Spry said. More than 2,000 homes have been approved to be built inside the Monument city limits.
“We’ve seen a real change in the dynamics of the community,” he said. “We used to attract a lot of retired people, but now we’re seeing families who are drawn to the open space and want to get out of city life. We have a great school district that’s driving growth as well. The acres of retail development are really going to add to that lifestyle.”