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Downtown project on fast pace after council approvals

(Jun 24, 2015)

Westminster City Council on June 22 took action on major elements of the Downtown Westminster project, including approving a project to begin road and utility construction in mid-July.

Council approved a $13 million contract with Hammerlund Construction Inc. to construct the Downtown Westminster Street and Utility Project Phase 1.

Phase 1 includes roadways and installation of the utilities that will service the initial phases of development on the site (see map). In addition, street lights will be designed and included on all of the roads being constructed in Phase 1.

“We’re actually increasing the amount of roadway construction in this project because of increased developer interest in the Downtown Westminster site,” said Deputy City Manager Jody Andrews. “We’re going to see a lot of activity on the site, and it is going to happen quickly.”

Council also approved issuing $40 million in certificates of participation (COPs) to fund infrastructure, parks, structured parking, acquisitions and interest payments as part of the Phase 1 development.

Approximately $65.5 million is needed for the Phase I improvements, of which $10.1 million is from existing cash funding, $15.4 million from projected land sales within the development area and the balance through the COPs.

The financing plan at the site uses an urban renewal strategy similar to methods used to develop the Orchard Town Center and the Shops at Walnut Creek. The strategy would have the city investing in public infrastructure up front to prepare for development, then seeing that investment paid back over time as the development builds out.

Council also approved several contracts associated with development of the major public spaces at the site, including master plan and design contracts for the central square, and the central, east and south parks.

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