True to the spirit of reuse, the building formerly occupied by Savers thrift store in the Woodlawn Shopping Center will soon be home to an Arc Thrift Store.
Savers pulled out of the distinctive swoop-roofed building in the shopping center at …
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Savers pulled out of the distinctive swoop-roofed building in the shopping center at Littleton Boulevard and Windermere Street in March. The chain closed all three of its Colorado stores, citing insufficient profits.
The new thrift store should be open by September, according to an Arc spokesperson. Arc is a Colorado-based nonprofit thrift store chain that seeks to provide advocacy, support and employment to people with developmental disabilities.
Plans are also in the works to raze the Chase Bank ATM kiosk in Woodlawn’s parking lot and replace it with a 5,000-square foot, three-space building, with the largest spot expected to be a coffee shop with a drive-thru, according to documents available on the City of Littleton’s Development Activity List. One document filed with the city in January projects that construction will begin this summer.
The 60-year-old shopping center is actually two properties — the old Savers building, built in 1967 and once a Safeway, is owned by Walter Scott, a Bellevue, Washington-based representative of Legacy Commercial LLC. The L-shaped strip of shops around the perimeter are owned by Cadence Littleton Co. LLC, an arm of Cadence Asset Management, which is based in California.
No one from Cadence’s Denver or California offices returned multiple requests for comment for this article.
City officials speak highly of Cadence’s management of the property.
“They’ve gone to quite a bit of expense to improve it — the lighting, façade and parking are much improved,” said Littleton Economic Development Director Denise Stephens. “They’re pretty invested in getting sustainable, good tenants.”
Stephens said businesses on the north-facing side of the strip have it tough because their visibility to Littleton Boulevard is blocked by the old Savers building, though all six of the strip’s empty storefronts are on the east-facing side. The former Blueberry’s Café, which closed in fall 2015, is in the process of being renovated for a new tenant, which permits in the window suggest will be a pho restaurant.
The blocked view doesn’t rattle Drona Acharya, owner of India’s Best Restaurant, tucked in the back of the strip mall.
“Yes, it’s a little bit of an awkward place,” Acharya said. “It’s a little hidden — that’s why I call it `the hidden gem of Littleton.’ The neighbors are very supportive. I like the space. It’s working very well. We make such good food that people come back and bring their friends.”
Stephens would like to see the two ownerships become one, with an eye toward redeveloping the whole block.
“We’ve been reaching out to the owner of the Savers building for years to see if they want to sell it, and so far he’s wanted to hang onto it,” Stephens said. “Unfortunately, you can’t do much redevelopment unless both parts are owned by the same entity.”
Scott, who owns the old Savers building, said he’s been open to selling, though he’s never officially offered it up for sale.
“I’m a bit quizzical that the guy who owns the property around me didn’t want to try to buy that piece,” Scott said. “Then he’d really have something he could approach the city with for a comprehensive mixed-use development that would have real benefit for the city.”
Scott said he expects Arc will be a good tenant.
“The city doesn’t need to worry about having a hole there,” Scott said. “Secondhand stores will not be replaced by the internet. It’s a nice building, it’s a good location, the city gets some property tax and sales tax — it’s a win-win-win deal. Some people view secondhand stores as being lesser than firsthand stores, but if you want to buy some cool stuff, you’re more likely to find something unique at a thrift store.”
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