KUSA - The epitaph for Longmont's Twin Peaks Mall might read 1986 to 2015 - which at 29 would be tragically young in human terms but ancient for modern shopping malls.
A development company is moving closer to replacing Twin Peaks with a brand new shopping center in Longmont.
This week, NewMark Merrill Mountain States took possession of the Dillard's building at the Twin Peaks site, which by the summer or fall of 2015 will become an open-air shopping center called the Village at the Peaks.
Open-air centers like Southlands in Aurora, the Streets at Southglenn in Centennial and Belmar in Lakewood have either replaced traditional enclosed malls or sprung up as an alternative to the "all-in-one" malls Baby Boomers grew to know and love in the 1970s and 1980s.
Allen Ginsborg, the managing director and principal of NewMark Merrill Mountain States, the developer of the Village at the Peaks, says this trend is due in part to the operating costs of enclosed malls, which he refers to as "fortress malls."
"What's driving our format for the open-airs is that it's what retailers want and it's what Gen-Yers want," Ginsborg told 9NEWS in a phone interview. "We're trying to look forward, not backward."
Those consumer preferences include having a place to gather, as well as using portable technology. The Village will feature "full project WiFi."
The Dillard's building was the last major sticking point for the Village. The store closed a few weeks ago and just now turned the building over to the developers of the new project. The Dillard's building will actually be the only Twin Peaks building to remain as part of the Village at the Peaks.
Ginsborg estimates annual sales from the Village at $150 million to $200 million, compared to a peak of $85 million for the Twin Peaks Mall. NewMark Merrill Mountain States operates 10 million square feet of retail space in Chicago, California, and soon to be Colorado.
The major components of the project include a Regal RPX theater, the only one of those premium theaters in northern Colorado, as well as a Sam's Club and a Whole Foods store.
Ginsborg says consumer studies have consistently indicated Gen-Y interest in theaters, natural grocers and discount warehouse retailers.
About 90 percent of the full project will open at the same time sometime next year.