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Westminster begins master planning for former mall site

(Jun 20, 2013)

The City of Westminster is moving ahead with a master plan for its new downtown on the site of the former Westminster Mall.

The city will work with internationally recognized urban planning firm Torti Gallas and Partners to create a blueprint that will guide future development of the 105-acre site, located at U.S. 36 and Sheridan Boulevard.

Active negotiations are also underway with a variety of developers that can bring their specific expertise to the overall project, including residential, office and retail sectors, all with an urban flair.

Working with different developers while still being guided by a master plan will help the city achieve its vision for a vibrant, mixed-use, high-density community with all the elements of a true downtown.

“The truth is, we own this vision,” said Westminster Mayor Nancy McNally. “This council and this community are committed to having the right development and the right developers. We control the site, and we’re going to make sure this new downtown lives up to our vision.”

Over the next several months city planners will be working with Torti Gallas to create a master plan that will provide a framework and vision for the new downtown over the next 20-30 years. Key components of the plan include allowed land uses, public parks and plazas, multi-modal transit, focus on urban densities, development flexibility, and taking advantage of the fabulous views the site has of the Front Range. Public participation is welcome throughout the planning process and open house meetings will be set in this summer to evaluate draft proposals for the plan.

More information on the master planning process, including details on opportunities for the public to participate, will be coming in the next few months.

The city is taking on the master planning process rather than working with an overall master developer for the site.

“We’ve had serious and productive talks with national developers over the past few years, to see if there was a master developer we could bring on board to help us achieve our unique vision,” said City Manager Brent McFall. “We think that creating our own master plan for the site, and then working with different developers from various sectors, is the better path forward.”

Achieving the ambitious vision of a new development with the personality of a downtown that has evolved over time is a challenging task that requires patience and commitment, added McFall.

“Because we control the site we have been able to be patient throughout this process,” he explained. “We’ve been able to work through the worst recession in several generations and now we’re ready to move ahead aggressively.”

Along with improving market conditions, McFall said the site’s strong demographics continue to gain interest from developers.

“The great fundamentals of the site ­­-- its size, its access to transportation, the sweeping views of the Front Range, the household income in the area -- continue to generate interest from the development community,” said McFall. “With the improving economy, we’re seeing greater interest in what we think is one of the prime opportunities not just in Colorado but in the country.”

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