King Sooper, the anchor store for Eastbridge town center opened its doors on June 21st to lines of excited customers. The store boasts high industrial ceilings and plenty of widows, giving their customers a shopping experience filled with lots of natural sunlight and plenty of space to shop. Many Stapleton residents have been anticipating a place where they could shop for a wider selection of natural, organic, seasonal and locally grown produce and meat. This design forward market plays host to a natural body care section and Bistro with grab and go meals, authentic Mexican food, plus a salad and sushi bar.
The company has provided ample opportunity for job growth in the Stapleton area. Hiring started in May and remains steady and continuous.
Koger Co, the parent company, purchased the 3.6 acres site back in 2015 for 1.2 million. Plans were approved for the 69,000 sq. ft. store, large parking lot and gas station in March of the following year.
Not everyone was excited about the concept of New Eastbridge Town Center and its anchor store King Sooper. Some nearby residents of Stapleton were upset for a few reasons:
They envisioned a smaller market, 30,000 to 40,000 sq. ft., with more retail stores surrounding it. More of a destination. Others would have liked to have the gas station on the east side but the biggest issue was the size of the parking lot.
At a Stapleton United Neighbors meeting, several residents of the area stated that they were not excited about the massive amount of concrete it would take to construct the parking lot. They envisioned something more environmentally friendly.
Forest City, the developer, stated that most grocers want five parking spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. of store. The plans for King Sooper are just over four spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. This falls below what most grocers would consider reasonable.
Others expressed concern that if Forest City reduced the size of the parking lot, parking would spill over into the neighborhood streets. Other stores in the area complied with the smaller parking lots and that’s exactly what happened. The neighborhood with newer stores like Sprouts on East Colfax and Trader Joes at 8th Ave and Colorado Blvd have this issue currently.
Forest City also reached out to other smaller chain grocery stores to build in the Town Center but none showed interest, stating there are not enough homes to serve the northeast area.
Residents surrounding Eastbridge have been waiting a long time for the new town center and grocery store to alleviate the overcrowding of the King Sooper on Quebec St., the only other market in the immediate area. King Sooper had the right of first refusal in the Eastbrigde Town Center. Forest City agreed to this when the store on Quebec was built. The right of refusal means King Sooper would have the opportunity to match the offer if another grocery store showed interest. King Sooper is familiar with the area and its needs. It was the not only the best choice but the only choice.
Forest City got the approval to build. Eastbridge town center and its anchor King Sooper are in place and thriving. Is King Sooper an asset to the community or are the concerns of the residents valid? That remains to be seen.
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