Developer chosen to design plans for downtown Windsor | MyWindsorNow.com

Developer chosen to design plans for downtown Windsor

Emily Wenger
ewenger@mywindsornow.com

New development could soon change the way pedestrians enjoy Windsor's downtown.

The Boardwalk Backlot Development is one of the Windsor Downtown Development Association's initiatives that could bring more retail and residential space to the downtown area, and last week the Windsor Town Board approved Fort Collins-based developer Brinkman as the developer on the project.

The town and the DDA will be working together on the project, according to DDA Director Matt Ashby.

The goal, according to a request for proposal on the DDA's website, is to develop the strip that runs along the train tracks in a diagonal line from Main Street to Colo. 257 near Birch Street, which Ashby said the DDA hopes will increase the overall tax base in Windsor and draw more people to the downtown.

“I think a unique opportunity for the town and the downtown is really to create a pedestrian spine between the buildings we’ve talked about,” Jay HardyPresident of Brinkman

According to the request for proposal, "The vision is to create a mixed-use destination, blending an optimum fusion of residential, retail, hospitality, dining and entertainment options."

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Jay Hardy, president of Brinkman, said the company identified some needs in the town and looked at the challenges of developing along a railroad track to create initial design plans.

The first phase, he said, will be the DDA parcel, which is currently a triangular parking lot between Main and Fifth streets along the railroad tracks.

Hardy said a large focus of the DDA parcel would be on connection, not only to the businesses lining Main Street, but also to the Hearth Restaurant and Bar and Windsor Mill across Main Street.

He envisions a small park or green space to protect the current view of the Windsor Lake and two-story commercial-use buildings. The entire stretch, he said, should have mixed use, some apartment space and possibly for-sale condos.

Hardy also sees a use for the alleyways that stretch behind Main Street buildings and the lake.

"I think a unique opportunity for the town and the downtown is really to create a pedestrian spine between the buildings we've talked about," he said.

The "pedestrian spine," he said, would be an alley that businesses could use for outdoor seating, and pedestrians could use to take a stroll and connect with others.

The DDA approved the selection of Brinkman Tuesday night, said Ashby, which means the town and DDA ­— both entities are partnering on the development — will not entertain any other companies' proposals in the coming months.

The idea of a pedestrian spine is appealing, Ashby said, because it could help provide residents access to both new and existing businesses in the downtown. Stores currently lining Main Street would have the option to provide a second access or storefront, which Ashby said could draw in more customers.

"We're looking to maximize the utilization of the different properties," he said.

The far west property, at the corner of Ash Street and Weld County Road 17, is partly owned by the town, Hardy said, and partly by the American Legion Post 109, which is located on the north side of Ash Street.

Nacho Alvarado, vice commander of the post, said the Legion has not had recent conversations with the town or DDA about the development, so he is unsure of the Legion's plans moving forward.

Hardy said Brinkman looks forward to talking with the Legion about its needs and plans for the future.

One idea for that parcel, Hardy said, would be residential use.

Ashby said having residential development in the downtown is critical to the DDA's goal of increasing the number of visitors to downtown Windsor.

"Certainly a strong way of achieving that goal is to increase the overall population of people that live downtown," he said. "We're really excited about that opportunity to address some of the housing crunch while also providing a new and different type of housing."

For the parcel in the middle, Hardy said, which he said is not currently owned by the town but is in the negotiation process, he envisions mixed-use buildings. That could include having coffee or sandwich shops on the ground level, with residential above.

While Hardy, a Windsor resident, said all new developments are exciting for the company, this one will be especially close to home.

"I'll drive by it every day," he said. "Certainly the opportunity to do it in your home town is a cool opportunity."

What’s next

Brinkman Inc., the Fort Collins-based developer selected to design plans for the DDA Backlot Development in downtown Windsor, will need to create a shared vision with the DDA, which Hardy said is typically about a four month process, with about eight months spent on design before the final design is taken to the town for action. Hardy said he hopes the first phase of the project would be completed in 2019.

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