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Big boxes may open early

Matt Zalaznick
The Wal-Mart and Home Depot complex is seen from a hill above the site Wednesday, October 23.
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The Home Depot and Wal-Mart Supercenter now under construction in east Avon could open their doors next spring, even though the stores had not planned to open until July or August.

“There’s a lot of reasons to get the stores open and get people shopping –and providing more products at lower prices,” says Shane Bohart, director of development of Village at Avon developer Traer Creek, LLC.

Work began on the two stores in May. The Home Depot store will be approximately 118,00 square feet– about average for the company – and employ between 150 and 200 people.



Wal-Mart is building a 187,000-square-foot “Supercenter” that will be more than twice the size of the current Avon store.

“We’re doing what we can to expedite the openings,” Bohart says. “But it’s contingent on the paving and infrastructure we can get done before the winter. Mother Nature is an unknown variable.”



The stores won’t be able to open if Traer Creek hasn’t finished the access roads from Avon and U.S. Highway 6. They have about three weeks left of building time to get the roads and bridges ready.

“They’ve got a big job ahead of them,” Avon Assistant Town Manager Larry Brooks says. “They have a lot of things to do –they’ve got a river bridge, a railroad bridge, they’ve got all kinds of things going on.”

The Nottingham Ranch Road bridge that leads from Highway 6 to the stores is being completely replaced. The new four-lane bridge will be higher than the old one to keep the span dry in case the Eagle River floods.



A roundabout will be built where the bridge intersects with Highway 6.

Going back the other direction –into the shopping complex –a four-lane road will go under the railroad tracks. Traer Creek is currently building a new railroad bridge.

“From Highway 6 to the railroad bridge is the missing link right now,” Brooks says.

East Beaver Creek Boulevard, leading east out of downtown Avon, will be extended past City Market into the stores.

“The big question is how much can they get done this year before the snow flies,” says Keith Powers, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s resident engineer. “Who knows?”

CDOT, which will have to sign off on the readiness of the roads, will pay careful attention to the Highway 6 roundabout, Powers says.

“It’s got to be a fully-functioning roundabout. It doesn’t have to be completely finished, but it has to work,” Powers says.

Traer Creek is also building an Interstate 70 interchange to bring shoppers to the stores. That interchange –where drivers are now being detoured off the interstate in both directions just east of Avon – is expected to open in mid- to late-summer.

That interchange is not to be confused with the “half-diamond” interchange CDOT is building less than a mile to the east where I-70 passes over Highway 6 in Eagle-Vail.

Overall, Traer Creek can build 650,000 square feet of commercial space on its property between I-70 and Highway 6. It also has approvals to build 2,400 residential units –a mixture of luxury homes and as many as 500 affordable apartments, some of which will be north of I-70.

More than 200 affordable apartments are already being built at Buffalo Ridge, on the north side of I-70 just west of the interchange construction.

The last day the weather will let Village at Avon workers pave roads is projected to be around Nov. 15. Brooks says the company will have a better idea then about the prospects of opening the The Home Depot and Wal-Mart. -“If they get far enough paved access into the store, that’s what they’d like to do, open the stores in the spring,” he says.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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