By late summer, residents will see some action happening in the area of the former Westminster Mall. Construction of the basic street grid network will begin at the 105-acre site at U.S. 36 and Sheridan Boulevard as part of a plan that calls for a high-density, urban development with residential, commercial, retail and other uses.
Along with seeing the start of construction, the city will also be negotiating a development agreement with San Diego-based OliverMcMillan, to be complete by late fall. In early May, the city of Westminster, the Westminster Economic Development Authority, WEDA, and OliverMcMillan entered into an exclusive agreement for the redevelopment of the former mall. The design firm was founded in 1978 and has developed more than 8 million square feet.
“We are thrilled to announce the alliance with OliverMcMillan. This firm is exactly what we need and want for this project,” said Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison. “They have extensive experience in mixed-use development, plus a great track history of sensitivity to each community’s uniqueness. With patience and our strategic actions, we have set the stage for ourselves to partner with someone just like this and it is now paying off.”
The city was first introduced to OliverMcMillan back in 2008 after the city sent out a request for proposal to developers regarding the development of the former mall. OliverMcMillan was one of the proposers. City manager Brent McFall said representatives from the firm came in for an interview, but after further review of the site and project, OliverMcMillan declined to move forward on the project due to variables involved in the project.
“Although OliverMcMillan thought we had a great site, they decided there were too many unknowns on the project, like the fact that at that time, the city didn’t have control of the site and could possible face litigation with the owner,” McFall said. “Since then, the city has taken control of the site, took care of the demolition of the construction on the site and also resolved any potential lawsuits by acquiring the site. So now, the timing is right for them and for us.”
McFall said the final touch on the deal was the city beginning the process of designing the horizontal infrastructure on the project by planning the street grid. With the street grid in place as well as the base level entitlements in place, McFall said OliverMcMillan will be able to come in and get their permits, planning approval and get under construction for phase one by fall of 2015.
“This is a great site and we see an excellent opportunity to create a place that will endure into the future,” said Morgan Dene Oliver, CEO of OliverMcMillan. “The city of Westminster has shown visionary leadership in the ideas that are under consideration for the adaptive reuse of this site.”
McFall said throughout the process the city will have community outreach meetings, as well as public hearings at planning commission and city council meetings to give people input on the project. The city is also going to start drawing people back to the area with events at the former mall site, like a farmer’s market happening this summer, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
“We want to bring people back to the site and build some excitement about what is going to happen in the future,” McFall said.
For more information on OliverMcMillan, visit www.olivermcmillan.com. For more information on the development project, visit www.westminstercenter.us.