Ruling clears way to redevelop mall
Last Updated: 15:13 August 27, 2013
Dillard's attorney Leslie Fields declined to comment on Monday's ruling, saying only that "we're still evaluating it." Legally, Dillard's (NYSE: DDS) may appeal the ruling. Dillard's spokeswoman Julie Bull did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
Allen Ginsborg, a managing partner at NewMark Merrill Mountain States, which owns Twin Peaks mall, said he is impatient to start work on the new Village at the Peaks shopping center. The Village at the Peaks is slated to open in early 2015 on the former Twin Peaks site. A 100,000-square-foot Sam's Club and a 30,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM) grocery store have signed on to anchor Village at the Peaks.
"I cannot wait to put a shovel in the ground," Ginsborg said. "The judge understood that we were being held hostage, so it's a great outcome for us."
A three-person board of commissioners is expected to decide the price for the Dillard's department store, based on Monday's ruling from Boulder District Court Judge D.D. Mallard. Dillard's Inc. representatives and the Longmont Urban Renewal Authority each can name three prospective commissioners by Tuesday, Sept. 3, according to Mallard's ruling. No date has been set for the board of commissioners hearing to decide the price.
Once the Longmont Urban Renewal Authority has title to the Dillard's property, construction financing and land0use approvals can move forward, according to previous court documents filed by attorneys for LURA. LURA is made up of Longmont's elected city council members.
LURA filed an eminent-domain case against Dillard's (NYSE: DDS) in May after negotiations between NewMark Merrill and Dillard's were unsuccessful. Eminent domain is the legal right of a public entity to take property after compensating the owner. By law, the three-person board, a jury or a judge could decide the price of Dillard's.
Dillard's currently owns its own building and land and has the authority to veto any changes to the current Twin Peaks Mall.
City officials offered to purchase the Dillard's property for $3.6 million earlier this year, but Dillard's has requested $5 million. An appraisal done by the city in November valued the property at $3.03 million.
Mallard said she had witnessed Twin Peaks' decline, visiting the mall in the past when it was "vibrant" and more recently when it was "moribund." The eminent-domain case has centered around issues of "blight" at Twin Peaks.
Once NewMark Merrill has secured construction loans, Longmont has pledged $27.5 million to improvements at the site. That money will come from a form of funding known as "tax increment financing," in which a municipality buys bonds which are paid back through the increased property and sales taxes from a redevelopment project.
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