Thornton begins process of acquiring contaminated mall

Luc Zarzecki
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Thornton officials are taking steps to retake the Thornton Mall, sending a letter to the building’s owner saying the town has started the process of acquiring either a parcel of the property or the entire shopping centre.

The Thornton Development Authority sent Jay Brown, owner of the Thornton Shopping Center, a letter on April 15 saying the City hired an appraiser to make an offer on the property. If Brown does not accept the offer, the city will begin sentencing proceedings, according to the letter.

“If a resolution of this matter cannot be reached, the Authority will have no recourse but to acquire the property through condemnation proceedings,” the letter states.

City spokesman Todd Barnes said the Development Authority was acting on behalf of the city itself.

“The City Council and the Thornton Development Authority have authorized the TDA to negotiate with the landlord to acquire all or part of the Thornton Shopping Center property and, if necessary, commence condemnation proceedings to acquire the whole of part of the property. property,” he said. . “TDA’s Notice of Intent to Acquire is consistent with this clearance and identifies TDA’s intention to acquire the entire property for the purpose of carrying out an approved urban renewal project.”

Thornton City Council voted unanimously on December 14 to move forward with the acquisition of Thornton Shopping Center through eminent domain. Eminent domain would give the property to the government with compensation.

The property has two major issues. The first is soil and groundwater contamination with perchlorethylene (PERC), a dry-cleaning chemical. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment enforces remediation of this chemical.

The second set of issues is structural and aesthetic with buildings, parking lots and sidewalks. The city enforces them by issuing city code violations.

Jay Brown, the current owner, bought the property unaware of the environmental issues and claims he did not have the funds to clean up the damage. Even with a court order ordering Brown and his company to clean up the site, a stalemate remained.

Thornton Councilor Kathy Henson said the letter was exciting news.

“It’s the first active step that we’ve seen in this way so that we can start talking about a possible redevelopment there,” she said. “The community has waited a long time for this.”

Edwin S. Wolfe