Jeffco gathering details on town's proposal to annex Southwest Plaza

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By Ramsey Scott

Residents of Jeffco and Bow Mar will have to wait several weeks before the final details of the town's proposed annexation of Southwest Plaza will be available. 

The county is calculating how much it spends on law enforcement services for the mall and on street maintenance, including snow plowing, for the portions of South Sheridan Boulevard and West Bowles Avenue that Bow Mar would have to claim for the "flagpole" annexation.

Bow Mar and General Growth Properties, owners of Southwest Plaza mall, approached the county in June about the possible annexation.

“We’re at the very beginning stages of the process," said Deputy County Administrator Kate Newman. "There’s not a lot of back-and-forth yet. The conversation is just beginning. We’re still in the information-gathering stage."

The cost assessments are necessary before negotiations can begin on how Bow Mar would compensate the county for providing services. The stated goal of both Bow Mar and General Growth Properties is to make the annexation revenue neutral for the county.

General Growth Properties approached Bow Mar about a possible annexation so the town could place a special sales tax on the mall. Revenue from the tax, which has yet to be officially proposed but has been suggested at 3 percent, would be split 50-50 between the mall and Bow Mar. 

The proposal is similar to an agreement between General Growth Properties and Lone Tree for Park Meadows Mall, under which Lone Tree and the mall split a 3 percent sales tax 50-50. 

Tax revenue collected by General Growth Properties could be used only for improvements to public infrastructure and other enhancements to public areas. The mall is currently undergoing an $80 million renovation.

Newman said the timeline is being driven by Bow Mar, which would need to place a measure on this November’s ballot for the sales tax. Bow Mar would need to send Jeffco and Arapahoe County, the two counties the town is in, the ballot language by mid-September.