Tenants were scheduled to start moving into Westminster’s Eaton Street Apartments on July 15 — the first housing development in the city’s Downtown Westminster project.

City officials, developers and the curious were on hand July 10 for a reception and ribbon cutting at the apartment building, which features 118 affordable one, two and three-bedroom apartments as well as six two-bedroom townhomes. It also includes 21,000 square feet of street-level retail space.

The project is one of several at the Downtown Westminster development, the city’s long-awaited successor to the Westminster Mall.

“These are not things that happen overnight,” Atchison said. “We started these conversations over 16 years ago. And today, it’s here.”

National cinema chain the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema opened their Westminster location just before July 4. The nearby Ascent apartment project, featuring 225 apartments and more ground-floor retail, is on track to open in October. Crews are digging the foundation and an underground garage for the Ascent’s companion project, the Aspire, just north of Eaton Street project and the 125 room Origin Hotel Westminster is on target to open in March 2020.

“Is it all here? No,” Atchison said. “Will we be done in the next couple of years? No, but we will get there with quality development, a community for people to live in and everything the people of Westminster have told us they want and can be proud of now and into the future.”

Housing challenge

The Eaton Street project is unique, Atchison said, because it features affordable housing.

“I will challenge all other 39 mayors in the metro area to get off their butts and find a way to make it happen,” Atchison said. “This is just something we have got to have. We want to ensure that the quality of life Westminster offers can be attainable by all, making our city a more vibrant community.”

Atchison noted that the development was 70 percent leased as of July 10.

“Within three weeks, they will be full,” he said.

A single bedroom unit is available for $1,044 per month while a two-bedroom unit rents for $1,254 and a three-bedroom unit for $1,448.

”People have a connotation of what affordable housing is, and it’s not always positive,” Atchison said. “That’s why we’ve tried to tell people this is workforce housing, for the people who work in our city and in our region. It’s our teachers and our firefighters, the clerks that work in the stores and who wait on you in restaurants. These are the kind of people who are going to live in your city and if you don’t have a place for them, they can’t be here.”

Each unit includes energy-efficient ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves, a clothes washer and dryer, central air conditioning and heating and granite countertops. The building features a first-floor clubhouse and fitness center, attached garage parking and a second-floor plaza and community deck with grills for barbecuing.

Not slowing

It bodes well for Westminster’s future, according to City Manager Don Tripp.

“I talk to my fellow city managers around the Front Range and many people ask if things are slowing down,” Tripp said. “I keep my mouth shut because we’re not seeing that here. We’re very blessed and fortunate.”

The total project cost about $24.3 million and was funded with $5.6 million from the city, $3 million from the State of Colorado Division of Housing and HOME funds loan from Jefferson County. The project has support from the City of Westminster and Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

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