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WESTMINSTER, CO-Wiens Byrne Realty Advisors plans a 142,300-sf banking and retail center at the northeast corner of West 120th Avenue and Federal, an increasingly wealthy suburban area that is starving for high-end restaurants and retail. The city of Westminster recently zoned the 20-acre site for retail, after years of being zoned for office.

“We view 120th and Federal in Westminster and the entire northwest corridor as a major growth market and we look forward to having a major banking presence here,” says Tim Wiens, whose family sold its FirsTier banks to Compass Banks in 2001. About a year ago, his non-compete with Compass expired, allowing him to get back into the banking business. He already owns several area banks, but this 20,000-sf bank will be his flagship, he says.

Mike Byrne, his partner in their namesake company, says Lowe Enterprises owned the land for years, with the idea of eventually developing offices on the sites. However, the dot.com bust left millions of sf of empty office space in the north and northwest corridors.

“The office market continues to remain sluggish, and retail really makes the most sense for this location,” Byrne tells GlobeSt. “We’ve done a tremendous amount of research and market analysis, and everything points towards development of a retail center with high-end tenants. We have strong interest from two high-end grocery stores and well known ‘sit down’ restaurants.”

One thing they won’t do, is anchor it with a Safeway or King Soopers, he tells GlobeSt.com. Rather, it would probably be a 10,000-sf to 15,000-sf high-end grocer. He says confidentiality agreement prohibit him from revealing their names.

They’ve hired MCG as the architect and Taylor Kohrs as the general contractor. Bob Bramble and Mark Nelson of the Frederick Ross Co. are leasing it.

“As a real estate firm, we’re very interested in ‘sleeper sites’ such as this one that can be re-created into something new and different, and meet current consumer needs,” Byrne says. He estimates it will cost $15 million-plus to build it, but says after it is leased, given today’s low cap rates for retail, it could sell for three or four times that amount. However, he and Wiens say their intention is to remain as long-term owners.

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