Thornton city council passed an ordinance this week that officials hope will finally get the former Target site developed.
Council unanimously voted on the second and final reading of the ordinance during its June 25 regular meeting.
The ordinance rezones the approximate 15 acres at south of East 104th Avenue, between Grant and Washington streets, from community retail to planned development. The rezoning allows for a wider use of the land, however, there are no specific development plans at this time.
Council held a public hearing on the ordinance during its June 11 meeting.
“Tonight is probably the most progressive step that’s been taken with this piece of property over the last frustrating 13-plus years … since (the Thornton Development Authority) acquired the site that was the former target store at 104th and Washington,” City Manager Jack Ethredge said during the public hearing.
This will be the second change in the city’s approach to redeveloping this site. Ethredge said the city left the vacant Target store standing on the site because retail experts said it would be an incentive for developers. Since that never panned out, the city decided to demolish the building.
The city had resisted developing only portions of the site and kept the zoning as community development, which limited the land use. This new zoning, Ethredge said, allows flexibility to meet market needs.
Planning manager Mike Mallon said at the public hearing that there are two uses that are allowed with planned development that were not allowed with the community development zoning — multifamily residential and office warehouse uses. The planning development allows up to 25 dwelling units an acre for a residential project.
The planned development design has four individual parcels with roughly seven pad sites.
“The site plan does have flexibility, these pad sites are just conceptual, they can be combined, they can be split, they can be rearranged, their borders can get larger, they can get smaller depending on the specific proposals that come in and when they come in as well,” Mallon said.
The office of economic development has already seen a significant market interest for all the new uses the planned development zoning allows, said Jessica Erickson, manager of business retention and expansion.
“It is our belief that this rezoning will get us the highest and best use for redevelopment by opening the site up for uses we may not have considered before — including new retail uses, primary employment uses and residential uses,” she said.
Ward 3 councilwoman Beth Martinez Humenik gave her reason why she supported the rezoning during the public hearing.
“This piece of property … has been something that the city has been trying to get developed for about 13 years and this is a critical piece of our infill development in the city and I think that the rezoning of this particular piece of property to allow these uses is actually going to be very beneficial for the city,” she said.
No residents spoke in favor or against the rezoning at the public hearing.