Is Whole Foods finally coming to the Marilyn Hickey building on Orchard Road in GV?

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENT REPORTER

A proposed site development plan has been submitted to the City of Greenwood Village and is presently under review by its Community Development Department. The plan, for the property that formerly housed Marilyn Hickey Ministries and other small businesses at 8081 E. Orchard Road, is owned by Alberta 8081 East Orchard LLC, a part of Alberta Development Partners, who bought the property in the spring of 2017 when it was hoping to develop that building and several others in the Orchard Light Rail Station area. The company never submitted a development plan for the area to GV because of strong public opinion that mixed-use development should not be built in that vicinity. After the dust settled, the new city council elected in November 2017 changed the city’s comprehensive plan to “strongly discourage” any residential construction in the Orchard Station area unless it was single-family homes, which no one has proposed to be built there, adjacent to I-25, a light rail station, 40 year-old low-rise offices and The Triad office complex. 

The new proposal is described on GV’s development activity map as including, “two free-standing buildings within the footprint of the existing single building – one new building at 40,000 square feet for a high-end retail grocery anchor, and a second building at 160,000 square feet for Class-A office space. Both buildings will include an associated underground parking structure and additional surface parking spaces.”

Although Alberta representatives have steadfastly refused to name the proposed grocery store, one of the documents submitted to GV with the plan, and shown on its website of development activity,  includes a reference to the “west side of the Whole Foods Building.”

A neighborhood input meeting for the project held at GV City Hall on December 16 drew 25 people, including five couples and City Council members Dave Kerber and Donna Johnston. GV staff reported some of the questions asked and answers given from Alberta representatives at that meeting. 

On the question of whether sustainability efforts will be used, including LEED Certification and solar panels, Alberta’s response was that it would comply with all current building codes. 

To the question, “Is office space needed in this market? Will mixed-use be considered?” the developer responded, “Office space and other uses (i.e. retail) will be dictated by market demands as well as working within the parameters of Greenwood Village Zoning Code. The office market today is extremely difficult. The applicant would welcome the opportunity to develop much need residential housing but is restricted by the current zoning.”

To the comment, “Traffic will be an issue on East Orchard Road,” the response provided by the developer was, “Applicant will rely on the recommendations of the Traffic Impact Study as required by the Site Development Plan process. Applicant will coordinate with the City of Greenwood Village.”

Once community development staff has had an opportunity to perform a thorough review of the proposal, it will be set for a public hearing in front of the planning and zoning commission, who will then make a recommendation to the city council as to whether it should be approved. Then the city council will hold another public hearing before it approves the plan. No dates have been set yet for either public hearing.

fmiklin.villager@gmail.com