City announces block-by-block approach to downtown development
(May 12, 2015)
The City of Westminster has announced it will take a “block by block” approach to development of its new downtown on the site of the former Westminster Mall.
Late last year the city approved a master plan for the 105-acre site, located at U.S. 36 and Sheridan Boulevard, that will guide its transformation into an urban-style development with an emphasis on outdoor life and pedestrian/bicycle friendliness in keeping with a city known for its parks, open spaces and trails.
The city will now work with a variety of developers to bring in a vibrant mix of residential, retail and office uses. This “block by block” approach will bring greater variety to the site over time.
“Downtowns traditionally have developed on a block-by-block basis, and that’s key to achieving our goal of a true downtown,” said Deputy City Manager Jody Andrews, who is leading the project team. “Because we control most of the land, we can bring a great synergy to discussions with potential development partners.”
Andrews also emphasized the site, which is roughly the size of Denver’s LoDo, has many characteristics that give it unique appeal.
“Our site has great fundamentals: prime location between Boulder and Denver, excellent transportation access, sweeping views of the Front Range, and strong income demographics,” he said. “These qualities have already sparked interest from a number of potential development partners.”
Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison said the timing was right for this new approach.
“We’re taking the lead in this development in a time where our Colorado economy is quickly expanding,” said Atchison. “We’re confident we are on the right track to achieve our community’s vision for a vibrant downtown.”
The city is also ready to begin major construction of the roadways, utilities and public spaces that will form the foundation of the site. Current plans are for work to begin this summer.
“The construction will bring a lot of energy to the site, and people will quickly see it taking shape as a traditional downtown grid,” said Andrews.
The announcements come at the same time the city has decided to look for additional partners aside from developer OliverMcMillan, which has been in primary negotiations with the city for the past several months.
“We respect the developments that OliverMcMillan has done around the country, and we worked hard to find a way to bring them to the site,” said Westminster City Manager Don Tripp. “But ultimately we could not agree on a deal that worked financially for the city and would help us achieve this bold vision of an urban downtown.”