Photos of shopping center at Horsetooth Road and College Ave. Wednesday Oct. 30, 2013. V. Richard Haro/The Coloradoan
FORT COLLINS - Trader Joe's is coming to Fort Collins.
The popular urban grocer has signed a lease to open its fifth Colorado store at The Square, 3500 S. College Ave., the home of Hobby Town USA, the Bible Superstore and others, sources have told the Coloradoan.
Though the retailer famous for its Two Buck Chuck wine has not filed formal plans with the city, zoning supervisor Peter Barnes confirmed a contractor had inquired about a how big a Trader Joe's sign along College could be.
Trader Joe's consistently ranks as the top retailer sought by city residents and was high on Alberta Development Partners' wish list for the revamped Foothills Mall north of The Square.
Details are still sketchy, but the specialty retail grocer plans to occupy the space leased seasonally by a Halloween store. It was most recently the home of Corral West Ranchwear, which closed its doors in early 2009 amid corporate bankruptcy filing.
The space has remained largely vacant since.
Square owner Darrell Knudson and property manager Carrie Gillis declined comment on any potential tenants coming to the property, citing confidentiality agreements.
Realtor Debbie Tamlin of Integrated Real Estate said "as soon as we can release information, our existing tenants will be told first."
City Manager Darin Atteberry declined comment on the retailer's status in Fort Collins but said it is an important retailer long sought by residents. Trader Joe's emergence in the Colorado market "is a real positive and I believe they would be a great fit in Fort Collins," he said.
Trader Joe's fourth store will open at 1906 28th St., Boulder, next year.
Knudson of Tustin, Calif., said he is in the process of deciding on a renovation for The Square, which lies in the city's Midtown corridor and was cited for blight in a recent blight study conducted by the city of Fort Collins as it made a case to establish an urban renewal area in Midtown.
Office Depot, the second-largest tenant at The Square, is in the process of vacating the center after it failed to come to a long-term lease agreement with Knudson.
The Square is not affiliated with Foothills Mall and is not part of the $312 million renovation expected to get underway later this year.
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