Breathing new life into Bowles Crossing

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Construction hopes to improve South Jeffco intersection

By Deborah Swearingen

It’s likely passers-by have noticed construction happening at Bowles Crossing. Indeed, change is coming to the South Jeffco shopping center.

Largely, the project — nearly two years in the making — will bring aesthetic updates to the shopping center. But it also includes a new, multistory apartment complex and a variety of new shops and restaurants.

“There was some opportunities there to really kind of bring this up to speed and (make it) a little bit more representative of what the market is and where retail is today,” said Taylor Alvey, director of leasing and development with developer Vestar. “ … The bones are there, and (it) really just needed to have a little life breathed into it.”

Vestar is redeveloping the former Sports Authority site — the large building near the corner of Bowles Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard that’s been empty since the franchise went bankrupt — and bringing in VASA Fitness, a fitness center with roots in Utah. Additionally, a new LongHorn Steakhouse is planned at the corner Bowles and Wadsworth, and an array of new tenants are set to open in the shopping center, including Eat Fit Go and Sleep Nation. There are other retail and restaurant sites in the works, but none have been confirmed.

The 330-unit multifamily complex, called Broadstone at Bowles Crossing, is north of the existing shopping center and south of Long Drive and Raccoon Creek Golf Course. Alvey said 6 acres of the site are being sold to another developer for this portion of the project, and it’s currently under contract.

He expects the construction on the apartments to get underway by next spring at the latest, while the facade upgrades should be complete in October or November.

Jeffco case manager Justin Montgomery said community response has been “pretty mellow,”

likely because the project is revitalizing the shopping center and going into an area that’s already developed.

“Personally, I think it’s all positive things that are going to be happening over there,” he said.

“Overall, the idea is to make it a very pedestrian-friendly area,” Montgomery added. “ … It’s going to really activate that intersection.”

Alvey agreed, saying improving walkability represents the evolution of retail and shopping centers, particularly in an area that will soon have a multifamily apartment complex. Connectivity is important, and residents will one day be able to walk to see a movie at AMC Bowles Crossing and then walk to shop, eat or exercise.

“Older shopping centers like this definitely aren’t set up for that,” he said. “That’s definitely one of the big focuses of some of the improvements we’re doing, as well as what the multifamily (complex) will do.”

Excluding Broadstone at Bowles Crossing, the project cost approximately $15 to $20 million. While much of the project entails renovations and upgrades to the exterior of the shopping center, Alvey feels the amount of money put into it speaks to the company’s desire to improve the intersection and add to the area.

“It’s not really a paint job,” he said.