Social Center and Economic Hub
Belmar Town Center began as a 1950’s outdoor mall named Villa Italia, which had become nearly vacant by 2000 when purchased by Continuum Partners. Civitas and Continuum had previously created Bradburn Village, a mixed, compact urban village in the metro area. Villa Italia sat at the heart of the City of Lakewood, a postwar suburb with no center. The dream was to give Lakewood a social and economic center, a real downtown that would support community and culture.
The 100 acre site was featureless but it was situated at two of the Front Range’s most important arterials with no access from two sides. There was a need to completely rebuild the infrastructure, create an open space and soft stormwater management system. Additionally, there was a desire to create an urban pattern of walkable streets, retail, entertainment and a wide mix of vertical development.
Civitas led the overall development of the urban design plan which centers on Alaska and Teller Streets converging on a central plaza and gathering space. The streets and plaza create the first real “place” in the city and have rapidly become active and successful with theaters, restaurants shops, offices and residences surrounding. In winter, the plaza becomes a skating rink, and supports many community events.
This is an example of creating an active public realm to stimulate and build community around entertainment and social activity.
People have come to love Belmar as the center of their town. On any given day you can find personal gatherings, programmed activity, and a vibrant walking environment full of people.
Client: Continuum Partners
Collaborators: Elkus Manfredi Architects
Budget: Streets and Plaza $15 million +