Target would anchor Eagle mall |

Target would anchor Eagle mall

EAGLE, Colorado ” Target is the centerpiece of the proposed Eagle River Station development.

Friday officials with RED Development confirmed they have a signed letter of intent with Target to be the 132,000 square foot anchor tenant of the 552,000 square foot commercial development. The announcement confirmed widespread valleywide speculation that Eagle River Station’s plan included the national retailer.

“Target’s interest in Eagle River Station, and in the community of Eagle, supports what we and others have been saying for the past two years ” that this is a viable project in and for this community,” said Paul Witt, representative of Eagle River Station. “We are also excited about the interest that Target’s letter of intent will generate among other regional, local and national retailers who are also considering Eagle River Station as business location.”

Target currently operates more than 1,600 stores in 47 states. In 2008, the company was listed as No. 11 on Fortune Magazine’s list of “America’s Most Admired Companies.”

The Eagle River Station proposal is still before the Eagle Town Board, with next public hearing March 18.

Jan Rosenthal-Townsend of Citizens for Eagle, opponents of Eagle River Station, notes that Target has long been rumored to be the Eagle River Station anchor. She questioned if Target would provide the needed clout to make the proposal a success, especially because there are currently Target stores in Glenwood Springs and Silverthorne.

“There goes their three-county draw,” she said.

Rosenthal-Townsend said that the current uncertain financial times have hit large retailers such as Target particularly hard.

“Many recent national articles all say retail and large department stores will never be the same,” she said. “Now more than ever, we all need to come together, think outside the box and do proactive things such as infill, more events and expanding on and supporting the outdoor recreation resources we have (in Eagle).”

Kelly Hanlon-Thorpe relishes the idea of shopping at an Eagle Target store. Brendon Harrington detests the idea of a national big box retailer coming to town. But this week’s news that Target has signed on as the anchor tenant for Eagle River Station wasn’t instrumental in forming the opinions of either one of them.

Both noted their thoughts about Eagle River Station extend deeper than whether or not they personally like a specific store.

For Hanlon-Thorpe, who moved to Eagle in 2005, the issue is Eagle’s need to collect additional sales tax revenue.

“To keep our tax dollars here would be huge,” she said. “Target would be great. It would be so nice to have a little bit more commercial in town.”

While Harrington, who recently moved to Eagle, understands the town’s need to increase its revenues, he believes Eagle River Station isn’t the right solution.

“We don’t need to do what everyone else has done. The future value of the community is being unique,” he said. “I am very strongly opposed to Eagle River Station in principle and in how it’s proposed. That type of retail and shopping and culture is why we moved away from Denver.”

Lynn Arguello, a longtime Eagle resident, said she is on the fence when it comes to the whole Eagle River Station project. But she swings toward opposing it when she thinks of potential traffic impacts.

“What I can’t stand is the traffic in Eagle anymore,” Arguello said. “A new interchange at Eagle River Station could be nice, but if we build all that stuff here, there will be more people in town and even more traffic.”

“I am fine with going to Glenwood to go to Target,” Arguello said. “But I know that when you give your money to Target, you are giving it to Glenwood Springs.”

“From my perspective in thinking about Target, that’s fine,” said John Cortez, a resident of Eagle for the past six years.

Cortez said that Eagle has grown to the point that it simply needs additional sales tax revenue. “You can’t keep Eagle small, comparable to 1980s or the 1990s. You can’t have it the way it used to be,” he said. “The town needs more money to operate and Eagle is not like the federal government … Eagle can’t just print more money.”

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