1999 - For Superior, tax base came in big boxes
As planners had predicted a decade before, communities in southern and eastern Boulder County were seeing unprecedented commercial development. In Broomfield, the long-awaited $212 million FlatIron Crossing mall was under construction. Interlocken’s $83 million Omni Hotel opened in June. In Louisville, warehouse giant Sam’s Club opened in February, and in Lafayette, revitalization of downtown and Public Road continued on track.
But nowhere in the county was the commercial development more dramatic than in Superior, probably because Superior was beginning to build its commercial base from almost nothing. Before 1999 it comprised an elementary school, two gas stations and the huge and often controversial Rock Creek Park housing subdivision.
Town administrators were faced with dwindling revenues from new housing construction and saw sales tax revenue as the next step to fund services for the growing community. In April 1998, ground broke on a 600,000-square-foot shopping center originally called Superior Towne Center. It was to house a movie theater, a big-box grocery and department store, Costco, and a mix of shops and restaurants.
By 1999 the name of the center had changed to Superior Marketplace, and its tenant mix had shifted. Instead of housing a mix of local businesses along with a so-called big-box anchor, it would become a center of big boxes. In April its anchor tenant, warehouse-style discounter Costco, opened a 146,000-square-foot store. Plans followed for a SuperTarget, PetsMart, OfficeMax, Michaels Arts & Crafts and TJ Maxx.
Superior Marketplace began to draw criticism from local residents that it would contribute to what its detractors called suburban sprawl.
Then-Town Manager Bruce Williams responded by pointing out that the area for the center had always been designated for commercial support in the town’s comprehensive plan, and that it was needed because it eventually could represent more than 90 percent of the town’s sales-tax revenue.
Still, Superior didn’t have the critical population mass to support the retail development it needed. Williams said it was forced to go after big boxes or other retailers that look at regional markets.