The sale of the long-declining Outlets at Loveland mall presents the prospect of a much-hoped-for rejuvenation for one of the choicest pieces of retail real estate in northern Colorado.
Schuman Companies, a real estate investment firm in Windsor, paid $15 million for the north parcel of the property at the intersection of Interstate 25 and U.S. 34. Schuman announced the sale Nov. 21 and is expected to close later on the south parcel of the mall.
Philip Schuman, the company’s chief financial officer, said in a statement that, “We are excited for the opportunity to reinvent the Outlets.”
The city of Loveland is looking forward to a makeover for what was once a major shopping attraction.
“When they opened, they were essentially one of the largest draws for the region for retail,” said Scott Schorling, the city’s business development project manager.
The roughly 36-acre outlet mall opened in 1994, well ahead of a number of shopping centers that have since popped up along the fast-growing northern I-25 corridor. Schuman Companies and CBRE Group, the real estate firm that arranged the sale, said the plan is to rename the mall Loveland Yards and offer retail and office spaces for lease or sale.
Schuman and CBRE didn’t disclose the mall’s seller. But Larimer County property records listed Craig Realty Group Loveland as the owner.
On its website, Craig Realty Group in Newport Beach, Calif., lists the Loveland mall among its shopping centers. The company’s other Colorado properties are the Outlets at Silverthorne and the Outlets at Castle Rock.
Craig Realty didn’t return a request for comment.
In 2007, The Denver Post reported that many of the storefronts at the Loveland mall were vacant. At the time, Craig Realty said it was investing more than $20 million in its three Colorado shopping centers to reverse what it called years of mismanagement by previous owners. Coach and a Nike Factory Store were two of the new tenants announced then.
In October, all that was left of the Nike store was the outline of the brand’s well-known swoosh trademark on the side of the building. The few remaining tenants included a mattress store, two churches, a used-car business, wellness clinic and the Loveland Scout Shop.
The floor-to-ceiling windows on storefront after storefront revealed empty spaces or, in a few cases, items on shelves that had not been cleared out.
While the Outlets at Loveland struggled, new shopping centers were built in neighboring areas, Schorling said. One of those is Centerra Marketplace with more than 40 stores, just to the west of the outlet mall, and the Promenade Shops at Centerra.
“I think that has been one of the biggest challenges for the center since it was constructed so long ago, essentially staying relevant in the retail landscape.”
And there wasn’t “a whole lot of reinvestment in the property,” he added.
The restrictions on businesses during the height of the coronavirus pandemic appeared to further the center’s decline.
“I remember having a conversation with one of the property managers who said if they were going to keep them locked down in 2020, through the holiday season, it was really going to be a death knell for the outlet mall,” Schorling said.
When the Nike store closed in 2021, Schorling said he thinks the mall’s owner started looking at its options.
Business at retail centers, including outlet malls, is on the rebound from the pandemic-induced downturn, according to Placer.ai, which provides analysis of foot traffic based on data from devices enabled to share the information. Visits to outlet malls rose 7.5% from September to October in the face of such headwinds as inflation, Placer.ai said.
In a brochure advertising Loveland Yards, Schuman Companies plays up the currently closed mall as one of northern Colorado’s “most central, accessible, and highly visible locations.”
Melissa Moran and Jon Rue with CBRE’s Fort Collins office arranged the sale and are marketing the property for sale and lease. Rue, first vice president, said in a statement that the site has more property fronting I-25 than most other commercial properties in the area.
Schuman’s plans would fill a specific need for the area’s small business community, which is the ability to own their own real estate, according to CBRE. The spaces can be reconfigured to fit individual requirements.
A half-million people live within 15 miles of the outlet mall, including the communities of Loveland, Greeley, Fort Collins and Windsor, according to CBRE.
Schorling, who met with the new owners Wednesday, said the company is “soft marketing the property” and has received good responses. He said the city and company have talked about ways to make the mall a regional draw, including a focus on entertainment or a common area for dining.
“We saw this corner as a retail gateway into the city and so it’s really important to us that it keeps that goal,” Schorling said.