By: Josie Sexton
By summer 2014, Old Town Fort Collins could be home to the second iconic “cream can” in Colorado.
Thursday morning the founders of Denver-based Little Man Ice Cream, together with Brinkman Partners, met with the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority to seek the agency’s support in opening its second retail location.
Little Man Ice Cream, known for its store’s cream can-shaped structure, opened in 2008 in Denver’s Highland neighborhood. According to the project proposal, Little Man’s Fort Collins location would be placed on the south side of the Fort Collins Museum of Art at 201 S. College Ave.
The space, owned by Brinkman and proposed for lease by Little Man, is now home to parking spaces and the former post office loading dock between the museum and Ace Hardware.
In the project proposal, the participating groups describe a “currently underutilized” area that they hope to “transform into a vibrant urban place.”
“A concept like Little Man, with its unique experience, site footprint requirements and track record of success in Denver, has the ability to generate a similar experience and the excitement necessary to activate this downtown space,” the proposal said.
Before approaching the DDA, the proposal was given to the city of Fort Collins for preliminary feedback. Regarding the cream can building, the city noted a failure “to comply with the applicable historic and compatibility standards and the definition of signage.”
But according to Matt Robenalt, executive director of the DDA, the reaction to the concept by the DDA board was a “unanimous thumbs up.”
“It is something that does essentially have a conflict with a couple pieces of the city land use code right now,” Robenalt said. “But sometimes really exciting things don’t fit neat and tidy within the box of our current rules and standards.”
Or, in this case, within the milk can.
With the DDA’s support, Brinkman and Little Man plan to submit their project for preliminary design review and approval from the city, a process that Josh Guernsey, of Brinkman Partners, says will involve a lot of give and take.
“It’s just conceptual at this point,” Guernsey said. “But we seem to be building a lot of community support and that was the intent of approaching the DDA with this project. Now it’s worth really exploring with the city to make it work.”