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WESTMINSTER, CO-The City of Westminster and Forest City Enterprises have announced a $150-million, 1.2-million-sf mixed-use project along I-25. The project, so new that it has yet not been named, would be anchored by a 12-screen, 51,200-sf AMC movie theater.

The center will include 900,000 sf of outdoor fashion-oriented retail as well as townhouses, apartments and office space. It will be developed on 215 acres on the northwest corner of I-25 and 144th Avenue, south of the C-470 Beltway. The center will be designed by well-known urban planner Peter Calthorpe.

“This site is clearly the most desirable in the three-county area for retail development,” says Brent McFall, manager of Westminster, a large city along the northwest corridor. “It’s closer to the strong existing underserved population base; it’s located in the midst of short and long-term residential growth; it is owned by the city and ready for development; and it’s located inside the beltway, an important physical and psychological benefit for both shoppers and tenants,” he adds.

The Colorado Department of Transportation recently approved an interchange at the intersection of 144th and I-25, a joint project of the cities of Westminster and Thornton that is expected to open in the summer of 2006. AMC will anchor the first phase of the project and will open prior to the advent of the interchange.

“The opening of this interchange is a key development in positioning this site for commercial use,” McFall says. “This interchange was an essential part of the development plan that Westminster and Thornton had jointly developed beginning back in 2000. That development plan reflected our shared vision for the north I-25 area. Also, our cities have a revenue-sharing agreement for projects built within this area, so Thornton and Westminster will both benefit from this new project.”

The current population of the primary and secondary trade areas, approximately 515,000 now, will reach 557,000 by 2006 and 635,000 by 2012. “With growth occurring all along the north I-25 corridor, it is essential that the area provides residents with convenient retail, office space and housing,” McFall says.

Rick King, a spokesman for AMC, adds: “This section of Westminster clearly has the kind of growth potential we look for when we seek prime locations for our megaplex theaters. Westminster’s age demographic is a great match with our key movie-going population, and the convenience of the location, inside the beltway, provides the accessibility that is critical for our high-volume theater complexes.”

The site is located in the northeast portion of the City of Westminster in the extreme northwest corner of Adams County, approximately three miles south of Weld County and about 3.5 miles east of Boulder County. These counties, which comprise the primary trade area, have projected growth rates even higher than that of the greater Denver region, according to statistics provided by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Growth from 2000 to 2020 is estimated at 58% for the three counties combined, with the greatest growth in percentage coming from Weld County.

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