Silverthorne gets updated plan for major Shops at Smith Ranch development
Developer Continuum Partners presented an updated version of the Shops at Smith Ranch pre-development plan to the Silverthorne Town Council at its meeting Wednesday, July 28.
Mike Anderson, senior development manager with Continuum, said the company has been holding a variety of stakeholder meetings for community outreach and feedback on the project.
The latest plan would include a 30,000-square-foot grocery store and a 20,000-square-foot retail building. As proposed, the project would also include 140 rental units for the local workforce, including a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments across three buildings. There is also space for two small retail shops between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet next to the apartments.
“There’s a strong desire and recognition that there’s a need for that for-rent product in this market for those folks that may not be prepared to purchase a home or may not be interested in taking on the purchase of a home,” Anderson said in the meeting.
While there are still no formal applications relating to the project, Silverthorne staff have been meeting weekly with Continuum Partners to create a potential development plan for the site. Continuum was the sole respondent to the town’s request for proposals in January 2020, and the developer has since partnered with the town through a memorandum of understanding and the pre-development plan.
Anderson said feedback from work groups have driven the potential site plan presented to council. He said the three main points of focus from the community implemented in the plan were pedestrian walkability and vehicular access, open space for community gathering and the preservation of view corridors.
The plan currently has the grocery store and commercial buildings against Colorado Highway 9 with a shared parking lot between them, which Anderson said would preserve view corridors. The residential and open space areas are adjacent to Adams Avenue, closer to the larger Smith Ranch neighborhood of for-sale, deed-restricted homes.
Anderson said the plan was oriented around the central green space, which is meant to provide another amenity to the workforce housing around it.
Council member Derrick Fowler said he would like to see opportunities for community and family gathering included in the open space, such as a playground and a spot to barbecue with park benches.
The plan also includes four access points to the commercial center: one off of Ruby Ranch Road that provides the main access from the highway, one off of Adams Avenue between the two apartment areas, one that provides right-turn-in and right-turn-out access from Highway 9 and another going through the north apartment area, which would connect to the proposed road between the Phase 5 town houses on Adams Avenue.
Council member Kevin McDonald said the workforce rental units were morphing into his top priority for the project.
“I see it as a primary opportunity to provide rental housing for the workforce,” McDonald said. “This is a different way of looking at it, but I see that as goal number one.”
McDonald said the commercial aspect of the project can be put on hold as the town works to determine the best fit for the grocery store, but he thinks moving forward with creating 140 workforce units should be done sooner rather than later.
Mayor Ann-Marie Sandquist agreed with McDonald, noting the value in waiting to find the right tenant for the commercial development.
Town Manager Ryan Hyland said the next steps will be to update the pre-development agreement. After that, the town and developer will work together on a preliminary site plan and an actual development agreement, which would include more details and set-in-stone plans for the project.
Hyland said a development agreement would represent a major milestone in actually bringing the project to fruition. Since many large development projects like this are done in phases, Hyland said it’s possible that workforce housing will be developed earlier than the grocery and commercial aspects, though nothing is definite.
“We’re obviously interested in a great grocer for the Silverthorne community, and if we can make that happen as quickly as the workforce housing then that would be great,” Hyland said.
Following the conclusion of the regular meeting, council went into executive session to get legal advice and discuss negotiation strategies around the project’s development proposal.