AutoZone planned for Fort Collins Chuck E. Cheese site on Prospect

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The old Chuck E. Cheese building in Midtown Fort Collins was to be razed and redeveloped into a niche Marriott hotel. COVID-19 and a decline in tourism and business travel have derailed these plans.

Now the site is expected to become the newest location for a national auto parts retailer.

AutoZone applied for a building permit with the City of Fort Collins last week to renovate 105 W. Prospect Road, just south of College Avenue and Prospect Road.

Building owner Les Kaplan said AutoZone signed a long-term lease for the entire site, including the space currently occupied by Fort Collins Furniture.

The lease ends efforts to redevelop the site into a six-story Marriott-branded hotel. With the hotel market in the doldrums, Kaplan and its partners Saunders Development and Fort Collins developer Stu MacMillan put the project on hold after receiving approval from the city’s planning and zoning commission.

Kaplan still considers the hotel to be the best use for property.

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The property is in the city’s Midtown and in an urban renewal area, but developers have found little support for funding tax increases from the URA’s finance committee, Kaplan said. .

Tax Increase Finance is a development tool that allows developers to use the additional tax revenue generated by the increase in property value to help finance infrastructure work.

“The money from TIF would have made a difference,” Kaplan said. If the URA finance committee had been more receptive, he expects the hotel to have moved ahead.

“The city placed this property in the urban renewal zone, but when it came time to ask for URA dollars, it was not well received,” he said.

The URA subcommittee preferred affordable housing on the site, Kaplan said. “Everyone was disappointed after working on this hotel project for two years at a cost of $ 800,000.”

Located opposite the southeastern edge of the CSU campus and within walking distance of downtown or Canvas Stadium, the hotel was intended to attract families visiting the university.

Chuck E. Cheese, a popular spot for children’s birthdays, abruptly closed in April 2020. The storefront has been empty since then as Kaplan and partners worked on the concept for the hotel.

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Pat Ferrier is a senior journalist who covers business, health care and growth issues in northern Colorado. Contact her at [email protected] Please support his work and that of other Colorado journalists by purchasing a subscription today.


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