McDonald’s, Cinnabon, and Ambercrombie & Fitch are all fleeing Broomfield’s FlatIron Crossing mall, and at least one consumer, Nathan Long, isn’t sure what to make of it: “Makes me think that [the mall] is either getting better businesses or they can’t keep the ones they have in business,” he tells Boulder’s Daily Camera, which doesn’t cite a definitive reason for the stores leaving, although mall managers say many new tenants are already lined up and that the changes are for the better. Meanwhile, the foreclosure sale of the Greeley Mall continues to be delayed, awaiting the necessary bids, reports the Tribune.

But outside the malls, the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Leeds School of Business is finding optimism in its latest quarterly business-confidence index. For the second time in three quarters, the index has reached prerecession levels, writes the Denver Business Journal, “a sign that the survey respondents believe the economy is on track,” says Leeds director Richard Wobbekind. The Journal also points out that for the first time in two years, the Denver metro area has experienced year-over-year job increases. And another possible indicator of recovery comes from the Western Slope, where 2010 was the third-best year ever for oil-and-gas drilling permits, according to the Grand Junction Sentinel.