Will They Come? By developing Wilson Gulch, city hopes to lure national retail chains

Years after completion of the Bridge to Nowhere, developers’ dreams are still hanging on a three-quarter-mile stretch of road between Mercy Regional Medical Center and the Highway 160 interchange at the bottom of Grandview Hill.

But those dreams soon may be coming true. The city is requesting contractors bid on the project this month, and construction is planned to start soon after, City Manager Ron LeBlanc said.

The estimated $8.2 million Wilson Gulch Drive is key in wooing large retailers to move to the space, developers said.

The city is hopeful new big box stores will help stem the flow of Durangoans going to Farmington to shop, which is redirecting $40 million in sales-tax revenue, LeBlanc said.

The city has approved a development called The Gateway at Three Springs that would consist of 256,000 square feet of retail space. But no stores have officially signed on to come to the shopping center yet, said developer Patrick Vaughn, president of GF Real Estate Group.

He said his company has spoken with more than 60 different stores. But they all have said essentially the same thing: “Show me the road.” Without the road it is impossible for retailers to access the site and start construction.