Momentum Builds on 70 Acre City Center in Timnath
A local developer has some big plans for the town of Timnath in Larimer County, including a city center with a $100 million price tag. Northern Colorado Business Report Publisher Jeff Nuttall is joining us to talk about what changes may be on the horizon.
Boyer: So the driving force behind this project is the developer of the Niobrara Energy Park?
Nuttall: Craig Harrison is that developer. He wants to create this city center on a 70-acre site on the southeast corner of Harmony Road and County Road 5 near the Poudre River.
The plans calls for a three-phase project called Riverbend. It would be the largest commercial development in Northern Colorado since the 2005 completion of the 3,000-acre Centerra Lifestyle Center in Loveland.
Boyer: Sounds like a pretty lofty goal. What progress has been made on the project?
Nuttall: Well, the Poudre Fire Authority has already signed on to build a new $4 million dollar fire station on the site. Infrastructure improvements for that project are slated to begin in June and be complete by the end of the year.
Construction on the fire station is supposed to begin in early 2013. Additional business development and restaurants will also help with funding through property and sales tax paid to the county. After the fire station, Harrison wants to bring in a police station and town hall as the first phase of the Riverbend project.
Boyer: So phase one includes mostly municipal buildings. What about the phases after that?
Nuttall: Phase two will go in west of phase one and includes approximately ten sites and two 3-thousand to 6-thousand-square-foot spaces on riverfront property where Harrison hopes to attract high-end restaurants.
Phase three includes a five-acre corporate campus with six lots, and, potentially, a regional arts and performing center. Harrison acknowledges that finding funding for an arts center may prove difficult, so he has a backup plan: a “senior campus” for adults 55 and older. The second two phases wrap around residential developments in the area.
Boyer: Which brings me to my next question: Since Timnath is a small community how do residents and business owners feel about a project of this magnitude?
Nuttall: According to Harrison, Timnath residents are familiar with the project, and he hasn’t heard anything negative from them. However, some business owners are more reserved about Riverbend. They say they haven’t heard of the project or don’t know much about it. Some are holding out on formulating an opinion until work actually begins on the project. Still others say they’re cautiously optimistic about the projects potential effects on the local economy.
Boyer: What about city officials? What’s their reaction to Riverbend?
Nuttall: The city staff seems to be enthusiastic about the project. One of our sources there mentioned that he thinks Riverbend will do great things as far as creating jobs and drawing people to Timnath. The town has already grown from 225 people to more than 500 in the last three years.
Some estimates are predicting a population explosion there, growing to 30,000 residents within the next 25 years. Craig Harrison has also said that he was so encouraged by conversations he had with Timnath that he decided to move the project up from its planned 2014 opening.
Boyer: Jeff Nuttall is the publisher of the Northern Colorado Business Report.