While COVID-19 kept most of the businesses in Downtown Westminster closed for several weeks, construction crews managed to keep busy. “What we’ve seen is that because of social distancing …
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While COVID-19 kept most of the businesses in Downtown Westminster closed for several weeks, construction crews managed to keep busy.
“What we’ve seen is that because of social distancing requirements have slowed construction a little bit — not a lot.” City Economic Development Director John Hall said.
For example, work on the 125-room boutique Origin Hotel has been pushed back, from August to October 2020. That hotel, near the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, is still planning to house and Tattered Cover Bookstore when it opens this fall.
“We’ve seen the general contractors kind of dividing projects in half, a north portion and a south portion, and workers are required to distance based on what portion of the project they are in,” Hall said. “That’s meant having fewer contractors on-site at any one time, and that has slowed construction schedules a bit.”
The hotel is 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 don’t think it’s been traumatic and it’s a trend we are seeing across the region,” he said. “It’s not something unique it Westminster.”
Developers and Westminster officials 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. Works also continues on the 255 apartment Ascent project and space for eight retail businesses.
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 can include a total of two to four million square feet of office when it is built out.
Hall noted that Westminster’s JC Penney, one holdover from the days of the Westminster Mall, did survive the parent company’s bankruptcy. The company announced plans in June to close 30% of its retail outlets with at least 154 closing this summer. That list includes stores in Durango, Fort Collins, Greeley and Montrose.
“They have now reopened and we are pleased about that,” Hall said. “Another thing that’s important, we understand the Alamo is targeting a mid-July re-opening.”
But he doesn’t know how that will look.
“That will depend on public health orders in place at the time of the opening, combined with the physical layout of the interior of the theaters,” he said. “I’d assume there’ll be chairs between people required to be vacant, but I can’t provide specifics.”
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