Park Meadows and the City of Lone Tree are virtually the same age, but they didn’t start their lives together.
Lone Tree incorporated in 1995. The mall opened in 1996. Its 2006 annexation was on the city’s wish list from the start.
It also was on Park Meadows’ register, but general manager Pamela Schenck-Kelly, who has managed the mall from its opening day, said Lone Tree wasn’t ready for it in 1996.
“It was always a natural progression,” she said. “The City of Lone Tree is a lot more sophisticated and able to handle things for Park Meadows now.”
Lone Tree initially contracted all its city services, hiring staff as the city and residents’ demands grew.
Park Meadows, meanwhile, opened in unincorporated Douglas County with a Littleton mailing address. Shoppers often were confused, and Schenck-Kelly said the mall wanted to annex, in large part, “for the prestigious address of Lone Tree.”
The creation of the Park Meadows business improvement district further drove the decision to annex, which Lone Tree voters cemented in 2006. Schenck-Kelly said Park Meadows never has looked back.
“It’s been a fabulous thing for Park Meadows,” she said. “The city is very conscientious. They’re committed to the long-term vision of Lone Tree. The partnership makes the city stronger, and if the city is stronger, the shopping center is stronger.”
Park Meadows is known among the shopping center industry as a “super regional” center because it consistently draws customers from a five-state area. It rode the waves of economic recession better than most malls, even expanding in 2008 with construction of the free-standing Vistas shops and restaurants.
Its Black Friday traffic counts grew 15 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Schenck-Kelly says the millions of dollars that come back to the center through its business improvement district are a key to its success.
“It allows us to maintain the commercial property at a level that is always going to be Triple A,” she said, pointing to other metro-area malls that lost their luster and eventually were razed and redeveloped. “Park Meadows will not be that way.”
While Schenck-Kelly commends the city, it in turn gives the center’s longtime manager credit for keeping Park Meadows on top.
Council member Jackie Millet points to other large structures built in the same time frame as the mall. Denver International Airport, for instance, is starting to look worn, she said, while Park Meadows “looks like it could have opened a month ago.”
“Pam is very, very image conscious,” said acting Lone Tree Police Chief Ron Pinson, “and that is phenomenal.”