LOVELAND — Whole Foods will be the grocery store that will come to Centerra in Loveland if McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc. can reach an agreement with the city of Loveland over a new urban renewal area in east Loveland.
Chad McWhinney, co-founder and chairman of development company McWhinney, told the City Council that several years of work with Whole Foods has resulted in a lease agreement that is contingent upon the company meeting certain time requirements.
“The No. 1 tenant you can have right now in the U.S. is Whole Foods,” he said.
He said McWhinney began working with Whole Foods about 16 years ago. Just in the past few months, the grocer said it was looking at five communities in Northern Colorado. McWhinney was able to get a lease signed, he told the council.
McWhinney, members of his staff and consultants hired by the Loveland Urban Renewal Authority presented information to the City Council during its study session and a proposal to develop what is being called Centerra South, a property on the south side of U.S. Highway 34 in east Loveland.
While the proposal has multiple facets including creating a new urban renewal area, new metro districts and new master financing agreement that spells out the public/private partnership on financing the development, Abby Kirkbride, general manager of Centerra, said that the public investment through tax increment financing is about $90 million, while McWhinney will be investing “about a quarter billion dollars” in the first phase of the project.
Whole Foods would be in the first phase. The developer needs a decision by April 1 to meet the grocer’s requirements in the lease.
Kirkbride said the amendment to the master finance agreement would remove this property from the existing MFA and create a new agreement that would mirror the 1.25% share in the city sales tax, which is the same as what existed in the previous MFA. The company is also asking for a waiver of some development fees, about $3 million, in commercial areas, she said.
She also said the developer proposes maintaining its relationship with the Thompson School District, which in the past has helped finance school district capital improvements.
McWhinney said its “yield on cost” analysis depends upon having an urban renewal area in Centerra South. The company’s ability to negotiate the Whole Foods lease was dependent upon the anticipated new URA.