The ongoing renewal of Westminster Downtown has preserved some legacies from the old Westminster Mall and added in a new movie theater, with a hotel, bookstore, more retail and now 650,000 square …
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The ongoing renewal of Westminster Downtown has preserved some legacies from the old Westminster Mall and added in a new movie theater, with a hotel, bookstore, more retail and now 650,000 square feet of office space in the wings.
Now, the city hopes to bring in residents — not just rentals, but townhomes that people can buy and keep.
“We’ve been trying to do this thoughtfully,” said Ryan Hegreness, the city’s communications manager. “You have the taller, denser parts of the development out along Sheridan and the townhomes and condos along the edges, as you move towards the outskirts and other neighborhoods. It’s being done that way to integrate with the rest of the community better.”
John Hall, the city’s economic development director, said those elements will be key to turning the area into a true neighborhood.
“We started bringing in some residents into the area, in the Eaton Street project, the Aspire and Ascent projects,” Hall said. “And then we turned a bit to bring in for-sale housing and office. Really, we are looking for balance and for diversity. It’s become a well-trodden phrase, but we want a place where people can work and live and shop. And those amenities help attract office and we need residents to help support those retailers.”
It’s part of the overall redevelopment for the 105-acre site that housed the Westminster Mall, between 88th and 92nd and Sheridan and Harlan. The city has been working to redevelop the site since the mall itself was torn down beginning in the summer of 2011, leaving the JC Penney’s, Olive Garden restaurant, a bowling alley and dental offices.
“I know people are anxious about these things,” Hall said. “But it takes a long time to go from an idea about a project to breaking ground and then ultimately seeing a project open.”
Developers and Westminster officials official broke ground on the Eaton Street Apartments in Dec. 2017, a mixed retail and housing project with 118 affordable apartments that joins construction of developer Sherman Company’s 255 residential unit Ascent project along 88th Avenue that began Aug. 2017. The Eaton Street Apartments, now called 8877 Eaton St., opened in July 2019 with 118 residential apartments and 27,000 square feet of retail. The 255 apartment Ascent project and space for eight retail businesses is scheduled to open in July.
“As a part of the Aspire project, which is under construction now, we are pursuing a market hall on the ground floor,” Hall said. “That would be a food hall that would spill out onto the central plaza.”
Developers are working on two office projects, totaling 650,000 square feet of space, to Downtown Westminster. Design of the first office building is well underway and will include ground-floor retail with six to seven stories of office above. The building will be located in the heart of the 105-acre redevelopment site, which is already home to Westminster’s Alamo Drafthouse and 600 residential units that are open or under construction.
Downtown Westminster has the capacity to include a total of two to four million square feet of office when it is built out.
Other developments expected in early 2020 include the 125-room boutique Origin Hotel, along with the Tattered Cover Bookstore, located at the hotel entrance.
Hall said the work is sticking to a schedule, although the Origin project did begin earlier than expected and could open in July.
“The hotel was always part of the plan,” he said. “It was really a tremendous opportunity that came earlier than we expected. We just found a really great partner in that. It came earlier, and they fell in love with the site.”
Hall said work designing the latest housing projects should begin sometime in March. Plans call for 34 townhomes along Harlan Street.
“We’ll start design work and then it should take about six to 12 months to get through that and the construction drawings,” Hall said. “It’ll be that long before we are able to see any earth moving on those projects.”
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