Company scraps approved plan for Eagle River Station
EAGLE — The Eagle River Station plan, debated for months and approved by the voters in 2012, is not going to happen.
This week Jeff McMahon, managing partner for architecture and engineering for RED Development, of Kansas City, Missouri, met with town officials to inform them that the company will not be submitting its final plat proposal by the deadline date of May 29. That means the development agreement negotiated for Eagle River Station will expire.
“We are confident we are going to be coming back with some kind of new plan, with new phasing, that meets the needs of the market and the community,” said McMahon. “RED is not going anywhere.”
Back in 2012, the Eagle Town Board approved the Eagle River Station plan and voters upheld that decision in a town referendum. The Eagle River Station plan called for a commercial/residential project at an 88-acre property located on the eastern end of town, south of Interstate 70 and north of U.S. Highway 6. The proposal called for 582,000 square feet of commercial space and 250 rental units in the first phase with another 150,000 square feet of commercial space and an additional 300 rental units in the second phase. As part of the proposal, there was an estimated $35 million price tag for RED to pay for public improvements to the site, including $18 million estimated for a new I-70 interchange at the site. McMahon noted that those costs, combined with today’s economic landscape, didn’t add up for Eagle River Station. By submitting its final plat by May 29, RED would start the clock ticking on a 30-month period to complete the public improvements for Eagle River Station.
“We are tying to be proactive and to reach out and let the commercial know what’s going on,” said McMahon. “There has been a lot of interest in the project from the residential side but there is not enough commercial interest to pay the sales tax dollars for the public improvements. The phasing of the project is not in alignment with the sales commitments.”
$30 million invested
While RED is not proceeding with the Eagle River Station plan as it currently exists, McMahon noted that the company owns the 88-acre parcel and it has already invested around $30 million in Eagle.
“We continue to be very bullish about the project and the community,” he said. “It is just taking longer with the retail component than we would like it to.”
McMahon said the company’s next step will be to sit down with town staff and officials to rework the Eagle River Station plan.
“I would hate to speculate on what a future project would be,” said McMahon. “Certainly, everything is on the table, but if anything, it will be a smaller project, not a larger one.”
The Eagle Town Board issued a statement on the decision Friday.
“The Town Board is disappointed with this news and is committed to work closely with the developer or potential future owner of the property to develop a project that fits the town’s master plans and goals for the area,” the statement said. “The Town Board would like to express their thanks to RED Development for advising the people of Eagle of their intentions in order to eliminate any ongoing uncertainty regarding the status of this project.”
McMahon noted that RED has never had one of its projects go dark.
“We have never had a project that we have walked away from,” he said. “What we have always wanted is a change to go out there in the marketplace and put the right project together.”
In that vein, McMahon said it is certainly a time for re-evaluation for Eagle River Station.
“But I don’t consider this a step backward. It’s more a signal that whatever we do, it needs to be correct for the marketplace,” said McMahon. “We are not giving up. We just want to get it right.”
Snow usually comes and goes in this part of the state. A forecasted storm is expected to stick around for a while. Forecasters are calling for snow to persist throughout the weekend in the high country, with a prospect of a couple of feet of powder by the time the storm starts to diminish on Monday.