Finally, development of the new downtown has begun! Westminster has been waiting to see the new downtown take off, and now the first of many projects is underway. Over the next two years, over 1 million square feet of development and $240 million of private investment will be built in a first phase of Downtown Westminster. By early 2019, the downtown will be a destination for employment, entertainment, dining and shopping for the Westminster community.
And this is just the start. We will continue to build out Downtown Westminster over the next 20 years.
So what is happening?
The new roads and six-story, public parking garage are now open to the public. Over the next few months, there will also be new street lights and streetscape installations with a few road closures during construction of the new projects.
“Installing the roads, utilities, parking structure and the regional drainage facility was strategic to allow for selling infrastructure-ready pad sites to developers,” said Downtown Westminster Development and Construction Manager John Burke. “It’s been difficult on our residents and businesses that have been impacted by all the construction, and we’re extremely grateful for their patience as it hasn’t been easy.”
Now the stage has been set and the city has recently announced four big projects over the last few months, including the addition of a boutique hotel and grocer, an affordable housing apartment project, a five-story residential and retail project, and the development of a 1.2-acre Central Square Plaza.
What does urban center really mean?
You may be familiar with the city’s vision to become the “next urban center of the Colorado Front Range.” But what exactly is an urban center and what does that mean for a suburb like Westminster? To be honest, the definition can vary for every community.
“We’ve heard some concerns from citizens that we’re ‘going urban’ everywhere, when actually we are growing very strategically in areas that can accommodate new growth, like the Downtown,” said Nurmela. “For Westminster, being urban means growing as a place of commerce and culture, as a place with a range of living options, and as a leader on the Front Range.”
Westminster is a beautiful city with ample parks and open space, high-quality shopping and business centers and established residential neighborhoods—all of these wonderful things you already love about Westminster will remain. The Westminster you know today will exist, and will be accentuated by a dynamic and exciting downtown that will serve as a community gathering space, much like Westminster Mall did in its heyday.
What’s the return on our investment?
The fruits of our labors will be realized in many ways. “Downtown Westminster will serve as a local and regional destination with new job opportunities, living options and cultural activities,” said Nurmela.
“Downtown will provide a social and cultural center for the city, economic resilience for decades to come, and environmental benefits with increased walkability and multi-modal transit options.”
Establishing an economic and cultural center for the city is a long-term move for Westminster. Over time, the additional tax revenue generated from new development, economic activity and property values will benefit every citizen. Additionally, the wide range of uses, diverse ownership and ability to respond to market forces will ensure that the downtown and Westminster overall remains resilient and adaptable.
Origin Hotel and Marczyk Fine Foods – Opening early 2019
The Thrash Group, a Mississippi-based developer, is planning a 125-room Origin Hotel, a boutique hotel that will also house a full-service market in its lobby. Denver favorite, Marczyk Fine Foods, has dubbed their 9,000-square-foot store as “Marczyk 2.0,” and will feature a fresh, full-service neighborhood grocery, along with wine and liquor, and additional in-store seating for deli and prepared foods.
In addition to integrating Marczyk Fine Foods into their lobby area, Origin will feature a chef-driven restaurant, and are looking for the right first-floor retailer to complement the grocer.
Eaton Street Affordable Housing – opening late 2018
The city is working with Mile High Development, Koelbel & Company, and Longs Peak Advisors to build Eaton Street Apartments – a five-story, mixed-use project with ground floor retail that will house 118 affordable housing units. The building will wrap the north and east sides of the recently completed parking garage.
“These units will serve residents earning 60 percent or less of the area median income, or approximately $50,000 annually for a household of four,” said Nurmela. “This project serves a larger goal of ensuring that Downtown Westminster is inclusive and meets the needs of the entire community.”
Ascent at Downtown Westminster – opening early 2019
Minneapolis-based developer Sherman Associates has broken ground on a five-story residential and retail project. Ascent at Downtown Westminster, located at Westminster Boulevard and 88th Avenue, will include 24,000 square feet of retail, 255 residential units (including 10 percent workforce housing at rents lower than market rate) and underground parking.
The entire project will be LEED Silver certified and will feature amenities such as large outdoor living and community areas, a fitness and yoga studio, a rooftop pool and an outdoor kitchen. The property will also be pet friendly.
Central Square to host up to 200 events annually – opening late 2018
The city has also broken ground on Central Square, a $5.5 million, 1.2-acre plaza that serves as the focal point for downtown and this first phase of development.
The plaza will support a variety of programs and uses by allowing them to spill outdoors and expand to the plaza, creating a lively urban gathering space in the new heart of Westminster. Residents will be able to come and enjoy the beautiful water feature and events or meet up with friends, play outdoor games or just relax on the lawn.