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Dilapidated, once-vibrant Thornton shopping center one step closer to redevelopment

Asbestos removal is underway and demolition will take place in the next couple of months, according to a city official.
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Posted at 8:59 AM, Apr 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 08:28:20-04

THORNTON, Colo. — A toxic shopping center is finally getting cleaned up in Thornton.

With redevelopment now a reality, the Thornton Shopping Center could once again be the commercial heart of the community and the City wants to hear from neighbors about what they want next.

Just around the corner from their home, the Knoblock’s daily walks take them down a bittersweet memory lane.

“I honestly see development now, but beforehand it almost just felt sad,” said Meredith Knoblock.

Fenced off at the corner of E. 88th Avenue and Washington Street, sits the city's oldest shopping center.

“It sat in a state of disrepair for many years,” explained City Council Member Justin Martinez.

Martinez, who represents Ward I, said what used to be home to a thriving event center in the late 50’s.

In 2020, a Contact Denver7 Investigationrevealed an old dry cleaner released chemicals into the ground.

The city is now moving forward with asbestos removal and demolition and will then dig up the dirt beneath the buildings before re-developing the land.

“We're optimistic that the site will be ready for development from an environmental cleanup standpoint in 2025,” said Adam Krueger, economic development director for City of Thornton.

Dilapidated, once-vibrant Thornton shopping center one step closer to redevelopment

In the meantime, the city is conducting a study to find out what types of businesses could be successful at the location and will continue to seek public input.

The Knoblock’s know what they want.

“Maybe some additional shops and boutique places, so they can really bring up old Thornton…would be really great to see,” said Taylor Knoblock.

And they know what they don't want...

“More gas stations, more fast-food restaurants, more drive-thrus,” said Meredith Knoblock.

They said from a dilapidated shopping center to the promised development, it's been a long journey, but the public meetings are another step in the right direction.

“It’s time the old Thornton gets something really nice and special that they can be proud of,” said Taylor Knoblock.

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