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WESTMINSTER, CO-Forest City California has begun construction of its one-million-sf, open-air, lifestyle and entertainment center at the northwest corner of Interstate 24 and West 144th Avenue. The development, Orchard Town Center, is in this city northwest of Denver.

“This first phase of construction lays the groundwork for the growth of a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle village,” says Colm Macken, chief operating officer, Forest City California. “Following a development agreement reached with the City of Westminster last year, we have closed on the land. We already have retail commitments for 450,000 sf of the property.”

“Every project has its starting point–this is ours,” says Brent McFall, city manager for Westminster. “With our financing in place, the city is moving ahead at all possible speed to make the improvements this site requires. And we have to move quickly. With three main anchors already announced, and a SuperTarget recently signing a letter of intent for the project, the momentum continues to build.”

Immediately after closing, the city, through its building and urban renewal authorities, sold more than $85 million in bonds and certificates of participation to help fund public improvements. Construction of the new interchange, to be built in partnership with the City of Thornton, will coincide with construction of the Orchard Town Center. The completion of phase one for both projects is fall of next year.

Over the next 10 years, city officials estimate the town center will produce an additional $85 million in revenue to fund infrastructure improvements. Forest City has arranged financing for The Orchard Town Center with Bank of America and LaSalle Bank.

The Orchard Town Center, to be anchored by Foley’s, J.C. Penney and a 12-screen AMC Theatre, will include a mix of exclusive, outdoor, fashion-oriented retail, large destination stores, department stores, and smaller, upscale retailers, along with a variety of restaurants and eateries. Located on 215 acres, it also will include 500 housing units and office space.

The mixed-use master plan of residential, office and retail at the Orchard Town Center was created by Calthorpe Associates of Berkeley, CA and the Mulhern Group of Denver. They are working with design architects Elkus/Manfredi Ltd. of Boston and Field Paoli of San Francisco in the commercial and mixed-use design concepts and their execution.

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