- Denver’s Westwood focus of ULI experts.
- Colorado Health Foundation hired ULI to also look at Arvada and Lamar.
- Link to ULI article at the bottom of this story.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity and privilege to write about Denver’s Westwood neighborhood for the Urban Land Institute, an acclaimed nonprofit research and education association that addresses development and land-use issue issues.
In Denver, the Colorado Convention Center and Coors Field, for example, are where they are today thanks to recommendations from ULI panels.
This spring, ULI was hired by the Colorado Health Foundation, a $2.2 billion asset foundation headed by the indefatigable Ann Warhover, to place three Denver communities under ULI’s microscope to analyze and provide recommendations to assure the infrastructure was conducive to healthy lifestyle choices that could address obesity, especially among its younger residents.
Along with Westwood, ULI advisory panels also examined Arvada and Lamar as part of its Healthy Places: Designing An Active Colorado initiative. ULI’s advice for an inner-city neighborhood, a suburban and rural community. The ULI’s findings are expected to provide a national model that could provide best development practices for communities across the U.S.
While walking the streets of Westwood, one woman who is with a Denver-based affordable housing group, confessed that although she though she was a Denver native, she had never stepped foot in Westwood before.
She, and others who participated in the ULI tour, came away believing that Westwood, which is bordered by Alameda Avenue and Mississippi Avenues and Federal and Sheridan boulevards, has a great deal of potential.
The neighborhood, with affordable housing stock, is bisected by Morrison Road and is close to downtown, while having views of the mountain range.
It’s safe to say that the out-of-state ULI panelists, as well as local groups that participated, came away impressed by the charisma, enthusiasm, and knowledge of City Councilman Paul Lopez, who led the tour and represents the neighborhood.
“The best Mexican restaurants,” in all of Denver are found in Westwood, Lopez said at one point. Ultimately, he thinks Westwood would be perfect for a large Mercado on a plaza that could become a destination spot to show off the neighborhood’s Hispanic culture, he said.
Although largely Hispanic and poor, the neighborhood also benefits from the greatest concentration of Asian businesses along Federal, Lopez noted.
To read the entire article, please visit ULI Magazine.
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