The Streets at SouthGlenn FAQs

Last updated: Feb. 25, 2020

This list has been compiled from questions and comments received from Centennial citizens about the potential changes to the Streets at SouthGlenn Master Development Plan. These FAQs will be updated as we receive additional questions and comments, and as more information becomes available.

If you do not see the information you are looking for here, you are welcome to send an email to southglenn@centennialco.gov.

A. History of the Streets at SouthGlenn

A1. Who owns The Streets at SouthGlenn?

The vast majority of The Streets at SouthGlenn is privately owned by the original developer, Alberta Development Partners. The former Sears building and parking areas were recently purchased by Northwood Investors. The City does not own any portion of The Streets at SouthGlenn.

A2. How was the redevelopment of the former Southglenn Mall to The Streets at SouthGlenn paid for?

The former Southglenn Mall was redeveloped into The Streets at SouthGlenn beginning with a public/private partnership in 2006 between the owner-developer (Alberta Development Partners), the City of Centennial, the Centennial Urban Renewal Authority, and the Southglenn Metropolitan District.

The total cost of the redevelopment was approximately $300 Million and was completed in 2009. Alberta Development Partners invested $215 Million in the redevelopment, and the Southglenn Metropolitan District issued a bond for the remaining $85 Million to cover the cost of public improvements associated with the overall redevelopment.  The bonds for the public improvements are repaid utilizing a common redevelopment tool called tax increment financing or TIF. The redevelopment resulted in buildings having a higher property value and more people visiting The Streets at SouthGlenn, leading to an increase in sales taxes collected. These increases in property and sales taxes, called “increment,” are used to repay the bonds.

More specifically, 100 percent of the property tax increments (paid by the owner-developer), and 76 percent of the sales tax increment (paid for by the patrons at The Streets at SouthGlenn when they shop and dine) is pledged for repayment of the bonds until 2030.  The remaining 24 percent of the incremental sales taxes collected goes to the City of Centennial.  Only the incremental increase resulting from the redevelopment’s success is used to repay the bonds. The base of taxes collected at the time of redevelopment still go to the City of Centennial and all other taxing authorities in the area as they would have if the redevelopment of Southglenn Mall did not occur.  The property taxes paid by property owners in the adjacent neighborhoods do not go toward repayment of the bonds.

A3. How does the financing for The Streets at SouthGlenn affect proposed redevelopment?

Any new redevelopment proposed by Alberta Development Partners and Northwood Ravin needs to demonstrate adequate property and sales taxes are generated to repay the bonds still in place from the original development. For example, constructing a park with no additional buildings for revenue is not feasible for this location. Additional public spaces are contemplated in the proposal, but they cannot be the only use.

A4. What is currently allowed to be built at The Streets at SouthGlenn?

In 2006, the City entered into an agreement, called a Master Development Agreement (MDA), with the developer to establish the process by which the Southglenn Mall was redeveloped. The MDA required a submittal of a Master Development Plan (MDP) that established the zoning and rules of what was allowed to be built. The City approved the original MDP for The Streets at SouthGlenn simultaneously with the MDA in 2006. 

Major amendments to the approved MDP (as defined by the MDA) must go to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council for consideration.

The MDP allows for a variety of uses such as retail, multifamily residential, entertainment, restaurants, office, and community business uses, all of which exist in the center today. A complete listing of all currently permitted uses can be viewed on page 2 of the MDP.  Alberta and Northwood are allowed to build any of the uses listed in the MDP today through an Administrative Site Plan (ASP) process if they comply with all requirements already agreed upon in the MDP, including drainage and traffic studies. The ASP process does not include any public hearings. The original redevelopment and all subsequent changes have been completed through this ASP process.

 

A5. What is CURA?

CURA – Centennial Urban Redevelopment Authority – CURA is one of more than 60 urban renewal authorities in Colorado established and regulated by State law.  Urban renewal authorities exist to enable development or redevelopment of blighted areas that would not otherwise redevelop on their own.  The Southglenn Mall was redeveloped into The Streets at SouthGlenn in 2007 as part of agreements between the owner-developer (Alberta Development Partners), the City of Centennial, the Southglenn Metropolitan District, and CURA.

A6. What is the Southglenn Metropolitan District?

The Southglenn Metropolitan District is one of about 2,400 special districts in Colorado.  It is a governmental subdivision of the State of Colorado, separate from the City, that was formed to finance the building and maintenance of the public improvements made as part of the original redevelopment of The Streets at SouthGlenn in 2007.   The boundaries of the Southglenn Metropolitan District include the redeveloped portion of The Streets at SouthGlenn.

A7. What is TIF?

TIF – Tax Increment Financing – TIF is a financing tool commonly associated with urban renewal that uses the increased property tax revenue and/or sales tax revenue created from redevelopment to finance the redevelopment itself.  TIF was used to finance the public improvement portion of original The Streets at SouthGlenn redevelopment in 2007.  The redevelopment resulted in buildings having a higher property value and more people visiting The Streets at SouthGlenn, leading to an increase in sales taxes collected. These increases in property and sales taxes, called “increment,” are used to repay bonds that funded the public improvements related to the project. 

B. What is Being Proposed Now and Why?

B1. What changes are the owner-developers (Alberta and Northwood) considering?

A formal application has not yet been submitted to the City, but the owner-developers are considering changes to the existing Master Development Plan (MDP) to allow for additional redevelopment which may include retail, residential, office, and entertainment uses. The changes would only affect the farthest north and south areas of the center (the Macy’s and Sears buildings). The majority of The Streets at SouthGlenn will remain the same. 

The following list of amendments to the MDP are what the owner-developers proposed at the first Community Meeting and pre-submittal meeting. They presented an updated proposal, along with updated conceptual renderings of the changes they are considering, at the second Community Meeting on November 19, 2019. The updated proposal and renderings will be posted here after the meeting. As of November 19, 2019, the owner-developers proposed the following:

Retail

•    Decrease the required amount of retail from 909,815 to 645,000 square feet.
       o    Currently, there is 948,853 square feet of leasable retail area, including the Sears and Macy’s buildings, which are approximately 307,000 square feet combined.

Residential Units

•    Increase the allowed number of residential units to a total of 1,273 units from 350 units. 
       o    Currently, there are 202 residential units within The Portola at SouthGlenn apartment building. 

Building Height

•    Modify the permitted height of the Sears parcel from 50 feet to 75 feet and permitted height of the Macy’s parcel from 50 feet to 75 feet. 
       o    The current allowable building heights within 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 building at 85 feet.

B2. What is prompting the proposed changes?

Retail is changing. People in search of convenience are shopping online instead of going into a brick and mortar store. Others are choosing to spend their time and money on experiences rather than traditional goods.  These national retailing trends are profoundly affecting the industry.  Big box stores are most impacted, and the recent closure of Sears and announcement of the closure of many Macy’s stores across the country is evidence that the City of Centennial is not immune. 

The owner-developers of The Streets at SouthGlenn have recognized this trend and have developed a plan in an effort to support and enhance The Streets at SouthGlenn.  Their proposal includes more of what exists there today; walkable retail, restaurants, office and residential.  The new residential is proposed by the owner-developer because it would provide a boost to existing stores and support development of new walkable retail that is most insulated from shifting retail trends.  Residential is also proposed because it is in high demand in the local market.  

 

With a decreasing number of big box retailers available to fill vacant big box stores we have observed the national trend is that vacant big box stores remain vacant or become uses such as gyms, temporary holiday stores, and other uses that generate limited or no retail sales tax revenue and decreased property values.  If the redevelopment of the closed Sears at The Streets at SouthGlenn were not to occur, these uses could become a reality at the vacant Sears as well as Macy’s. While there are no imminent plans for a Macy’s closure, no retailers are immune to changes in retailing which creates an opportunity and a need for the City to take steps to prevent deterioration of Streets at SouthGlenn similar to what happened to Southglenn Mall the last time retail trends shifted away from indoor malls.

B3. How would additional redevelopment be funded?

The proposed redevelopment of The Streets at SouthGlenn would be funded by the owner-developers.  They have not requested financial assistance from the City.

C. Review Process and Timeline

C1. What is the review process and timeline for the proposed MDP amendment?

Please see the detailed Review Process and Timeline here.

C2. What is their role of the owner-developers (Alberta and Northwood) in the redevelopment process?

Alberta and Northwood own the vast majority of the property located at The Streets at SouthGlenn.  Their role in this process is one of an applicant to the City. 

Any property owner in the City has the right to submit an application to develop or redevelop his/her property, and the City cannot turn away those applications. Accepting an application does not mean that it will be approved. All applications must go through a review process; the same is true for Alberta and Northwood’s proposed development.  The City does not control what property owners request through an application.

*Please note: An application has not yet been received from Alberta or Northwood.

 

C3. What is the role of the City?

City Planners

  • City planners facilitate the review process and administer the City’s codes and regulations. They also communicate the review process and set the expectations and requirements to the developer(s) for when an application is submitted.
  • For the Streets at SouthGlenn, the process is prescribed by the existing plans and agreements as well as the City’s Land Development Code and other codes and regulations.
  • The City provides opportunities for  the public to share  their concerns and ask questions about the project. The City provides the feedback received  with the developer. The feedback/comments received are considered in the development review process.
  • Once the owner-developers have addressed all staff comments, and the City’s criteria are met, City staff will make a professional recommendation of whether or not to recommend approval or denial of the owner-developer’s request to the Planning and Zoning Commission and  City Council. 
  • Comments expressed in writing after an application is received are made part of the public record and are provided to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council

Planning and Zoning Commission

  • The Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council are the decision makers for the Streets at SouthGlenn
  • The Planning and Zoning Commission will receive a staff report that reviews the applications against the criteria in place including Centennial NEXT, comments and the recommendation provided by City Planners.
    • The Planning and Zoning Commission will conduct a public hearing which provides an opportunity for public comments. Notice of the public hearing will be shared via the City website, Nextdoor, SouthGlenn e-newsletter list and the local media. Staff and the applicant are present at the hearing.
    • Based on the evidence in the record, consisting of the staff report, presentations and public comment, the Planning and Zoning Commission will deliberate and then make a recommendation to the City Council.
    • Their decision must be based on the criteria.

    City Council

  • The Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council are the decision makers for the Streets at SouthGlenn
  • The process for City Council is similar to the Planning and Zoning Commission except that the staff report will contain additional information from the Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing
    • A public hearing will be scheduled during a Council meeting providing an  opportunity for public comment
    • City Council will decide on the application, therefore they need to limit their participation in the public process until they are presented with all of the facts during the public hearing. Think of them like a judge, they can only consider what is presented during the trial as they make their decision
      • City Council will serve as judges. Therefore they can only consider what is presented to them during the meeting as part of the official record to make their decision.  Comments received from the public during the review process will be presented as part of the official record.  They must remain unbiased throughout this process so City Council was advised not to attend the initial community meeting.

C4. How does City staff review the application?

After the owner-developers submit a formal application, the City follows the amendment process outlined in the Master Development Agreement (MDA). The applicant is required to provide information about a number of potential impacts including traffic, parking, schools, open space, utilities, stormwater, height and visual impacts, and financial viability. Public hearings will only be scheduled after all the City’s comments are addressed. The following groups and agencies will have the opportunity to review the proposal and submit comments:

•    Residents who provided their email addresses
•    Centennial Council of Neighborhoods (CenCON)
•    SEMSWA
•    Littleton Public School District 
•    South Arapahoe Sanitation District
•    Southeast Englewood Water District 
•    South Suburban Park & Recreation District
•    South Metro Fire Rescue 
•    Arapahoe Libraries
•    Urban Drainage and Flood Control District 
•    Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office 
•    Regional Transportation District (RTD)
•    Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)
•    CenturyLink
•    Xcel Energy

C5. What is the role of the referral agencies?

  • Special districts are referral agencies.  They review and provide comment on how a proposed development may affect their services. 
  • A developer often works directly with a special district to address their concerns, such as a water district that may require tap fees to pay for a share of water rights and service that may be drawn upon by a new development

Special districts advise of impacts to their service agency.

C6. What are the criteria used by the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council to make a decision?

The Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council must base their decision on the five criteria listed in the Master Development Agreement (MDA) as follows: 

1.    The amendment is consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan (Centennial NEXT); 

2.    The amendment is consistent with the intent of the overall design and mixed-use concept of the Master Development Plan; 

3.    The amendment will provide public benefits to the project and the City as a whole; 

4.    The amendment is to not present the likelihood of the project not meeting the requirements of the MDA or any financial obligations concerning the project; and 

5.    The amendment is compatible with or will not materially and adversely affect existing development on adjacent properties, or measures will be taken to substantially buffer or otherwise substantially mitigate any incompatibility or adverse impacts.

C7. What is the role of the public?

The role of the public is to learn about the proposed development proposal, and to provide information about their experiences/concerns so that staff and the decision making bodies (Planning and Zoning Commission and ultimately City Council) may be more informed. The public does this by reviewing the plans, providing written comments before and during the public hearing, and by speaking at the public hearing.  Once an application is received, the City will set up a webpage to receive comments.

 

C8. How can I be involved? How is my input used?

The Review Process & Timeline shows opportunities for public input. Written public comments after a formal application is submitted become part of the permanent public record and are attached to the Staff report submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council prior to them making a recommendation or decision about the project. City Staff and decision makers will take all comments received into account and work in good faith with the owner-developers to reasonably mitigate anticipated impacts associated with the redevelopment. Legally, the decision of whether to approve or deny the requested amendments to the MDP must be based upon the five criteria listed in the MDA.

C9. What does the City do with the comments received about a proposed development?

As part of the development review process, the City notifies public service providers (water, electric, fire, school district, etc.), HOAs (usually within one-half to one mile of the proposed development), and interested members of the public of a development proposal. Notification occurs via e-mail and includes a copy of the development proposal and instructions on how to provide comments. Public service providers/HOAs/members of the public that receive the development proposal have 21 days to offer comments. 

Once a public service provider/HOA/members of the public provides comments to the City, the City reviews the comments received and forwards all comments on the development proposal received to the developer for their review.  The developer is then required to confirm they reviewed the comments received, and provide responses to those comments. In many cases, the developer will follow up with the public service provider directly, and will send responses regarding feedback from HOAs/members of the public to the City in a combined fashion. The comments received from public service providers, HOAs, and members of the public, and the developers responses to those comments become part of the official record. Additionally, all comments received are shared with the Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council prior to them making a decision on the proposal. 

D. Questions about Specific Topics

D1. Retail

D1a. What is the vacancy rate at The Streets at SouthGlenn?

Retail space within The Streets at SouthGlenn is approximately 20% vacant. A significant portion of the vacant space is a result of the Sears closure. The average vacancy rate for retail space in metro Denver is 4.5%.

D1b. Why have some businesses within The Streets at SouthGlenn closed?

There are many potential reasons a business may close.  A business may close because of declining customers and sales, to seek a better location, the impact of national retailing trends, or simply because the owner retires.  In some cases, even profitable businesses close or move.  Each situation is unique.

Turnover in the retail market is common as existing businesses close and new businesses open.  While no one wants to see their favorite store or restaurant close, it’s important to note the nationwide trends of retail vacancies.  Excluding the closing of Sears, The Streets at Southglenn has maintained a vacancy rate comparable to other retail in metro Denver.

We do know that retail is changing. Consumers in search of convenience and value are deciding how and when they shop.  Retailers and retail brands have responded giving consumers more ways to shop than the traditional brick and mortar store and online shopping, which is already twenty-five years old.  Consumers are choosing to spend their time and money on experiences rather than traditional goods.  Many are buying less overall.  These national retailing trends are profoundly affecting the industry.  Big box stores appear most impacted, and the recent closure of Sears is one example.

D1c. Why would the developer add new retail spaces if the existing retail spaces are not fully occupied?

Existing retail spaces may not be occupied for a variety of reasons including location, visibility, type of space, etc. Changes in the retail industry may require new types of retail space to attract new tenants while the existing retail space is transitioned to another use such as offices or residential.  The owner-developers will also limit the building of additional retail space based on market demand.

D1d. Who determines the rent for the retail spaces?

The owner of the retail space sets competitive lease rate (rent) based on what similar space leases for in metro Denver.

D1e. Who determines the types of establishments/businesses within The Streets at SouthGlenn?

The businesses themselves will determine if the Streets at SouthGlenn meets their criteria for locating their business.  Businesses consider location, visibility, area demographics, population and customer counts, lease rates and other factors. Existing businesses within the Streets at SouthGlenn may also have exclusive rights to certain uses which, such as grocery.  

D1f. Can the Sears or Macy’s be replaced with another department store or big box store? What about other uses such as office, community center or senior center, park, museum, or performing arts theater?

Retail is changing. Consumers in search of convenience and value are deciding how and when they shop.  Retailers and retail brands have responded giving consumers more ways to shop than the traditional brick and mortar store and online shopping, which is already 25 years old.  Consumers are also choosing to spend their time and money on experiences rather than traditional goods.  These national retailing trends are profoundly affecting the industry.  Big box stores appear most impacted, and the recent closure of Sears and announcement of the closure of many Macy’s stores across the country is evidence that the City of Centennial is not immune.

With a decreasing number of big box retailers available to fill vacant big box stores we have observed the national trend is that vacant big box stores remain vacant, are redeveloped, or become uses such as gyms, temporary holiday stores, and other uses that generate limited or no retail sales tax revenue and decreased property values.  In-line with this observation and national trends, the owner-developers have reported seeking big box tenants without success.

Any new redevelopment needs to ensure enough property and sales taxes are generated to repay the bonds still in place from the original development. For example, constructing a park with no additional buildings for revenue is not feasible for this location.  Additional public spaces are contemplated in the proposal, but they cannot be the only use.

 

D1g. Can the City prevent the Macy’s from closing?

No, the City cannot require a private business to remain open.

D2. Housing

D2a. Can The Streets at SouthGlenn and surrounding area handle the increased number of residents?

City staff and external referral agencies will determine this through their review. Depends on utilities, traffic, and other factors.

D2b. Could the City require new residential be for sale instead of for rent?

The City does not regulate if residences are owner-occupied or if the property owner may rent out a residence. The public can share its preference for owner-occupied residential, but the City cannot require it.

D2c. Can the City limit the number of occupants in each unit?

Currently, the City does not regulate how many individuals may live in a dwelling unit.  These types of regulations are very difficult to enforce. Instead, the City enforces regulations that ensure that a dwelling unit is safe to inhabit, such as ensuring a dwelling unit meets building code, and is provided with heat, electricity, and proper sanitation facilities. 

D2d. How are rents determined?

Similar to how a homeowner might price their home for rent, the owner sets the lease rate (rent) taking into account what similar space leases for in metro Denver in order to remain competitive.  Rents vary based on size, bedrooms, and other property amenities.

D2e. Can the City require or encourage the units to be affordable?

The City does not have an affordable housing requirement.

D3. Traffic and Parking

D3a. What were the findings of the Traffic Impact Study (TIS)?

View a summary of the traffic impact study here. The Developer has shared that they will be collecting additional traffic counts. This is to confirm that previously collected traffic counts adequately accounted for school traffic on a typical day when the schools are in regular session, not on a delay or professional development day, and not when there is inclement weather. The study and summary will be updated with new information once it is available.

D3b. How does the City ensure that adequate parking is provided?

The Master Development Plan requires a minimum number of parking spaces within the Streets at SouthGlenn. Those parking ratios were determined in 2006 during the creation at The Streets at SouthGlenn. Parking is also required to be shared within the development, which allows for shoppers, residents, and employees to efficiently use space in the development. While at times the development can become busy, there is enough parking available within the SouthGlenn development.

D3c. Are the roads capable of supporting additional traffic?

The Traffic Impact Study (TIS) determined that the proposed development’s vehicle trips, along with existing and future regional traffic growth, can be accommodated while maintaining acceptable operating levels.

D3d. How do I know the traffic study is accurate/adequate?

The traffic study was conducted by professional traffic engineers (Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig) that utilized on the ground traffic counts, the Trip Generation Manual by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, sophisticated models, among other tools to study traffic impacts.  The Trip Generation Manual is based on data gathered nationally over many years.  The results of the study have been reviewed by the City’s traffic engineers for accuracy.  A more in-depth review will take place once an application for the proposed development is submitted with a final traffic study.

D4. Schools

D4a. How will Littleton Public School (LPS) District accommodate future enrollment without negatively impacting existing residents?

LPS has indicated that they can accommodate any additional students generated by this project.

D5. Infrastructure

D5a. Are there adequate utilities to support additional density? (water/sewer, electric/gas, telecommunications)

When the owner-developers submit plans for review, the plans will be forwarded to utility and service providers to make this determination.

D5b. How is stormwater handled?

The Southeast Metro Stormwater Authority (SEMSWA) is the local government agency that enforces the City’s stormwater regulations.  The developer will be required to design and construct the required stormwater infrastructure that is necessitated by any redevelopment. This could include rain gardens and underground storage of stormwater.

D6. Architecture and Design

D6a. How does the City ensure that the architecture and design maintains the essence and cohesive feel of The Streets at Southglenn and is also integrated with the surrounding community?

The Streets at Southglenn MDP contains Architectural Guidelines. The developer will be required to design their buildings in conformance with the Architectural Guidelines found here.

D7. Open Space

D7a. How much open space/park space is required for the development?

The Streets at SouthGlenn Master Development Plan requires there be open space that equals 10 percent of the SouthGlenn development. Open space includes landscape areas and hardscape area for pedestrian use such as sidewalks, plazas, courtyards, and areas of decorative paving. Open space does not include parking areas and other vehicle oriented space.

D7b. Do the surrounding public parks have capacity to handle more residents?

The Streets at SouthGlenn is served by South Suburban Parks and Recreation. They are a referral agency and will determine capacity to serve additional residents. Initial indications are that local and regional recreation facilities have the capacity to accommodate residents. 

 

D8. Property Taxes/Values

D8a. Who pays property taxes for apartments?

The owner of an apartment property pays the property taxes Residents pay rent to the owner, and the owner pays property taxes. Apartments or multi-family properties are assessed at the residential property tax rate.

D8b. How will this affect our values and property taxes?

The impact on surrounding property values and consequently, property taxes is unknown. New development at nearby outdoor lifestyle centers like The Streets at SouthGlenn often increase buyer demand and consequently property values.