Despite COVID-19 toll, city optimistic about Downtown Westminster in 2021

A new hotel, bookstore and apartment building set to open by middle of the year

Liam Adams
ladams@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/5/21

The city of Westminster hopes to make up for its 2020 losses in Downtown Westminster. City officials expect a new hotel, and new apartments and retailers to go online this year. The businesses will …

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Despite COVID-19 toll, city optimistic about Downtown Westminster in 2021

A new hotel, bookstore and apartment building set to open by middle of the year

Posted

The city of Westminster hopes to make up for its 2020 losses in Downtown Westminster.

City officials expect a new hotel, and new apartments and retailers to go online this year. The businesses will be the newest additions to the redevelopment of the 105-acre site that once housed the Westminster Mall.

“I did expect challenges. But everything we’re seeing is contrary to that,” said John Burke, Downtown Westminster development and construction manager for the city. “Professionals are very bullish on post-COVID activities.”

Developers and retailers weren’t bullish in 2020, though. An economic recession and indoor gathering restrictions made it all but impossible for new restaurants and shops to open. The pace of construction slowed because workers had to maintain proper social distancing. As a result, opening dates for Sweet Bloom coffee shop, the Tattered Cover Bookstore and the Origin Hotel moved to 2021. The Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, which opened in 2019, closed in 2020 and won’t open until restrictions loosen.

More concrete plans for a burger joint, fitness center and a boutique grocer became less certain. Hope Pediatric Dentist and Lash & Company spa were the only businesses that opened in 2020.

The city hopes to rally this year. Sweet Bloom aims to open in late January. By late spring, early summer, the Origin and Tattered Cover will open. New owners bought Tattered Cover in December, but that won’t affect the new location. Kwame Spearman and David Back, the new owners, told Colorado Public Radio they intend to move forward with the Westminster site.

“I think everyone is kind of looking towards 2021 to 2022 and beyond,” Burke said, “Right now, they’re looking at, ‘where can I invest that will have a return in that investment in two to five years, not six months.’”

Also, the 226-unit Aspire Westminster apartment building is set to launch in 2021. It will include 10 townhomes, 25 studios, more than 100 one-bedroom units and 72 two-bedroom units. Soon after and right next door, the Market Hall, an indoor facility that will host food vendors and other retailers, will open.

Burke doesn’t worry about the long-term health of development in Downtown Westminster. A reason is that the city sells smaller lots to several developers, rather than selling large parcels to a single developer. If that were the case, Burke said, “I would be dead in the water.”

COVID-19 certainly took a toll, Burke acknowledged. Yet, in the larger 20-year timeline for the project’s total build out, “A year to two-year pandemic can be absorbed,” he said. “I think it’s going to be just fine.”

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