Oftentimes, it seems like Denver and Boulder get all the attention when it comes to development and trendy spots, but Fort Collins is marching right along too. There has been a fair amount of activity regarding Fort Collins real estate development lately. A great example is the Exchange project – a mix of retail, restaurant, and office space slated to open in Spring 2017.

I first caught wind of the project by chatting with broker Jake Arnold, of Fort Collins based Waypoint Real Estate. Waypoint is spearheading the effort to revitalize this location. The firm is redeveloping pretty much an entire city block in Old Town where the old EZ Pawn building once stood.

The Exchange in Fort Collins takes shape with Fort Collins Real Estate Development

Notably, the development aims to create a mixed-use common space where the parking lot currently exists. “We are working with the city on a “common consumption corridor,” which will allow for drinks (alcoholic) and food to be taken into the plaza area,” says Arnold.

Looking over the present plans, I was happy to see a real nice mix of tenants. It’s looking like there will be a nice balance between retail and restaurant space. However, what caught my eye the most is the proposed large grassy space, intended to be available for lounging in the Colorado sun, hosting community events, and being an all-around great meeting spot.

Arnold went on to tell me that “…we are trying to create a place where people can enjoy a variety of vendors in one area. It should be a great place for a whole family to spend an afternoon or evening with a variety of food/wine & beer options.”

And fans of Denver’s Work & Class and Cart & Driver on Larimer Street will be pleased to learn that shipping containers may be rolled into the architecture plan. Personally, I think shipping containers offer a great aesthetic when paired with organics so I’m anxious to see what happens.

The Exchange project in Fort Collins Real Estate Development

I’m very excited to see downtown Fort Collins stretch its development legs a bit. Especially, when the intention is not merely to create a shopping center, but to establish a place for people to meet and live. Yes, that often means food and drink, but development projects that are careful to include space to sit and enjoy the outdoors are really wonderful, in my opinion.

I also hope that projects like the Exchange and Boulder’s Rayback Collective help to prove to people that the idea of a “food court” can be an awesome thing and far from what I would call a traditional North American model (i.e. food courts in shopping malls). The hawker centers of Singapore and Bangkok, for instance, are a flurry of activity and full of unique tastes and experiences.

Domestic developments like Denver’s Avanti and The Duce in Phoenix are headed in the right direction. It’s looking like the Exchange project will earn its place in the conversation.

Waypoint Real Estate

For more information on Waypoint, please visit their website here.