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Vacant Safeway faces uncertain future

Safeway in Castle Pines closed in 2015, and it remains unoccupied except for occasional vaccine shot clinics.


In June 2015, Safeway closed its doors in Castle Pines.  What will become of the more than 50,000-square-foot space has been a source of constant speculation in the community.  Landlords, city officials, neighboring businesses and potential investors all have a stake in the answers, with the community waiting eagerly for signs of movement.

Recently, Robert Perry Investments acquired the shopping center that previously housed Safeway and now serves as its landlord.  When reached for comment about the vacant big box store, Nick Perry clarified, “It is as simple as this: Safeway controls a leasehold, and they have a few years left on their lease.  We have no control.  The City has no control.  Only Safeway.”

Safeway did not respond to a request for comment.

Back in 2015, Safeway cited profitability as the reason for closing the store.  At that time, Castle Pines had a population of approximately 10,500 residents.  Current estimates now place the city’s population closer to 14,800, a roughly 40% increase in potential customers since Safeway left.  This leaves King Soopers as the sole grocery store serving a community experiencing continued growth.

“While prices are important, the most significant issue is the inventory and King Soopers’ ability to keep shelves stocked,” said Dawn Besocke, a Knights Bridge resident.  “I don’t want to drive down to Castle Rock for kosher salt because our store is out.”

The vacant space does not necessarily have to be filled with a grocery store.  Robert Horst, owner of 80108 Wine and Spirits, shared, “We would love to see a fitness center take its place.”  VASA Fitness successfully transformed a former grocery store in the Willow Creek Shopping Center on Quebec and C-470, offering a potential model for revitalizing the Castle Pines location.

King Soopers and Safeway are subsidiaries of Kroger and Albertsons, respectively.  A proposed merger between the parent companies of these two grocery chains in Colorado has garnered significant attention, including a lawsuit filed by the Colorado Attorney General seeking to block the merger on the grounds that it would reduce competition and lead to higher food prices.

If the merger were to proceed, the entity controlling King Soopers and Safeway stores in Colorado might not be inclined to allow a competitor in the former Safeway space.  It is likely that courts and regulators overseeing a merger between the parent companies of King Soopers and Safeway would evaluate their collective real estate in Castle Pines and could require changes to allow a merger to proceed.

Some residents have brought their concerns to the City of Castle Pines, seeking a solution to ensure the success of local businesses.

City Manager Michael Penny explained, “When we look at [city] occupancy rates, everything is leased.  Businesses are doing well despite the vacant Safeway.  The issue is more about whether that is the image we want for the entrance to our community.”

It is clear that residents want to fill the void.  “The space could be something that is incredibly valuable to the whole community,” Penny added.  Until Safeway decides how to proceed with its lease, the location is expected to remain vacant.

“The City Council one-hundred percent cares about the issue,” Penny concluded.  “We are in the final stages of establishing an urban renewal authority for that area, which will allow us to invest in improvements.  We are dedicated to the success of our business community.”


Article and photo by Bear Rothe




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