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A Denver developer is exercising her majority rights in a 300,000-sf center, recently completing a $2 million face-lift capped off by a name change for a 53-year-old retail spot once hailed as “the largest modern shopping center in the West.”

Susan Burns of Burns Investment Properties is calling the upgraded center, Bell Tower Plaza, taking its name from the distinctive bell tower of the Casa Bonita Restaurant, which attracts more than a million visitors per year. Burns is a general partner in JCRS Investments LLC, which bought 220,000 sf in the aging center two years ago.

The center at W. Colfax Ave. and Pierce St. in Lakewood is situated on land formerly owned by the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society, which housed a turn-of-the-century sanitarium and dairy farm.

The project has consisted of design changes, new façade with pillar-lined sidewalks, new entrances, improved landscaping and new signs. The upgrade should appeal to shoppers from surrounding areas such as the nearby town of Edgewater and new upscale neighborhoods in northwest Denver such as Sloan Lake and Highlands, says Burns.

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