Drivers should be able to see what’s happening at the Downtown Westminster development site with their own eyes in the next month as crews wrap up work on extending Westminster Boulevard.
Real Estate and Development Manager Sarah Nurmela said Harlan Street, which runs west of the development, will connect in to Westminster Boulevard and will continue to be a path for drivers not going to the new area.
“Westminster Boulevard will become the main street in downtown and will be the main street between 88th and 92nd,” she said. “If some wants to be right in the heart of it all, that’s going to be the street to use.”
Crews are done building the street, but are still installing the traffic signal there. Once the traffic signal is finished, so is the road.
“Otherwise, the streets are all ready to go,” she said.
That means people will be able to drive through and see the construction.
Construction on the site so far has mostly been limited to site preparation — installing new water and sewer lines to make the denser development possible, paving new roads through the area and building the parking garage. It’s been necessary work that’s making the next phase possible, she said.
“We were replacing two major utility lines for a regional improvement — not just for the downtown, but a much larger area,” she said. “One was on the north side of the downtown, this second was on the south.”
Now residents should start seeing building construction on the first phase. Work on Ascent at Downtown Westminster, a five-story residential and retail project is already underway.
“They have gone vertical, so people driving by now can see the high ground floor portions,” she said.
Work on the Origin Hotel should begin early in 2018 . That will include the specialty hotel and Marczyk Fine Foods, a gourmet grocery. Nurmela said the city is reviewing that project’s building permits now.
The Eaton Street affordable housing project should begin construction in December or January . That project calls for 118 affordable housing units on top of a 20,000 square foot retail project in a five story project.
“They are eager to get out there,” she said.
Alamo Drafthouse should begin construction on a their nine-screen movie theater and dining project in February 2018.
That work is in addition to the work on JC Penney improvements and a 1.2 acre public plaza, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what they expect.
“Compared to the whole downtown, this development is maybe a fifth of all that we’ll see,” she said. “In terms of businesses in the first phase, there are still developers that are still in the process of working out their leases.”
Most of the first phase of the work is located in the center of the site. She estimated growth there will continue spreading over the next two decades.
“These places take a good 20 years to transition and gain momentum,” she said. “We are watching a very beginning of a process
that is going to result in a dense place to be, and it’s going to gain momentum over a long time.”