New owner to spruce up Uintah Gardens

       With a new owner, the Uintah Gardens shopping center is slated for a facelift starting this spring.
       Along with Walgreens' previously announced plans to build a freestanding store where Furr's Cafeteria was, Weingarten Realty Investors plans an “updated exterior, resurfacing of the parking area and landscape renovations,” said Brook Wootton of Weingarten in a recent on-line interview. “In addition, the center's anchor - King Soopers, which is one of the strongest in the area - plans to add a gas station in the center.”
       Asked for elaboration, a King Soopers spokesperson would only say that King Soopers' plans are not quite finalized, so no comments could be made at this time.
       Wootton said Weingarten is in the process of selecting a contractor and architect for the facelift work. Development efforts, which will include submitting designs to City Planning, are anticipated to begin in “early spring, with a targeted completion within six to eight months,” she said.
       Located at 19th and Uintah streets, the 142,000-square-foot existing center was constructed in three phases, with the King Soopers and other stores along the east end of the 16-acre property built in 1972, followed by the line of stores in its north end in 1974 and the Furr's building and attached stores along 19th Street in 1977.
       Weingarten is a nationwide real estate investment trust whose portfolio includes 294 neighborhood and community shopping centers. The company also owns the Carefree Shopping Center and Academy Place, both of which are on Academy Boulevard, Wootton said.
       According to El Paso County Assessor's records, Weingarten bought Uintah Gardens from Robidoux Shopping Center Associates Limited Partnership Dec. 30 for $14,300,000.
       “We're very excited about the opportunity to further expand our current
       operations in Colorado Springs with the acquisition of the Uintah Gardens Shopping Center,” Wootton said. “We are dedicated to being involved in the community by providing well-managed, attractive neighborhood centers that meet consumers' needs.”
       No changes in the center's store line-up are currently planned. Wootton said. “We are pleased with the current tenant mix, which are successful and thriving at this location,” she said. “Our leasing department is actively marketing the center to fill its current vacancies.”
       Wootton could not say how much Weingarten plans to spend on the Uintah Gardens upgrade, “but what I can tell you is the remodel will be extensive and will greatly improve the overall appearance of the center.”
       The freestanding Walgreens store is planned for construction this year, in a late-summer, early-fall time frame, Tiffany Bruce of Walgreens media relations said this week.

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