Uintah Gardens construction chaos to ease by mid-June

       The Uintah Gardens shopping center may look like the world's biggest a construction site right now, but by mid-June all but the new Walgreen's store - due for completion in late July - should be back to normal.
       The 5-acre strip mall at 19th and Uintah streets might even look prettier than before, according to an interview with Jill Scannell, the center's leasing executive.
       New concrete islands throughout the formerly all-pavement parking lot will be planted with shrubs, with no loss of parking spaces, she said. In addition, the old pavement will be overlaid up to the Walgreen's site at the southwest corner and storefronts will be upgraded with new paint, sign fascias and restored columns, Scannell explained.
       Meanwhile, the Uintah Gardens King Soopers has been implementing its own interior and exterior improvements, which are due for completion around June 1, a company spokesperson said recently.
       The center is owned by Weingarten Realty Investors (under the official name of WRI Uintah Gardens LLC), with Miller Weingarten Realty LLC as the leasing management company. WRI bought the property from Robidoux Shopping Center Associates Limited Partnership in 2005.
       Some questions have been raised about the parking lot's new concrete islands, which appear to take the place of some parking spaces. According to Scannell, the islands are at the ends of parking aisles where there would be no spaces anyway. Their functional purpose is to channel traffic for safety reasons. She further noted that the WRI plans had been reviewed by the city.
       This review process included City Planning and Regional Building Department, with opportunities for comments provided to the Traffic, Engineering and Fire departments, according to city planner Denise Tortorice.
       The city-approved plans show the number of parking spaces (658) as one above the required 657, based on a formula of one space for every 300 square feet. The area used for this computation was 197,246 square feet, which is the size of the center, excluding the Walgreens portion.
       The city also has requirements for the widths of aisles and spaces in new parking lots, but the city did not apply them in reviewing WRI's parking lot realignment plans, Tortorice said. She noted that the city had no original plans to go by for the 35-year-old shopping center.
       Tortorice added that the center-upgrade proposal came from the property owner without any compulsion from the city. “We're glad to see this happening,” she said.

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