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Broomfield Town Square project wins crucial nod from city leaders

Correction: This story has been updated to correct a version that incorrectly identified the Broomfield City Council.

BROOMFIELD — The developers of Broomfield Town Square, a proposed mixed-use project that includes a sizable lake and would wrap around a long-vacant grocery store, moved forward after scoring unanimous approval Tuesday from the Broomfield City Council for the broad outline of their plan. 

City leaders signed off on slightly revised planned unit development agreement that allows Town Square Alliance LLC to build as many as 643 residential units — down from 818 homes in previous iterations of the plan — and as much as 187,000 square feet of commercial development on a roughly 43-acre site located north of West 120th Avenue, east of Main Street, west of Spader Way and south of DesCombes Drive. 

A key feature of the development is its repurposing of the Safeway building, empty since 2014, “into a market hall with a mix of retail area, co-working space, community space and common area collectively comprising approximately 65,000 square feet,” planning documents show.

Additionally, Town Square Alliance will build a 4.5-acre public lake that will serve as a central gathering point for the new neighborhood, which the developer refers to as the future “heart of Broomfield.”

Carolyn White, a BTS project representative and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP land-use attorney, said that projects such as Denver’s Larimer Square and Union Station “embody the vibe and the feel” for which Broomfield Town Square Alliance is aiming.

Under its agreement with the city, and assuming full build-out of the project, Alliance must build 160 affordable units or pay about $4.3 million in cash in lieu fees to Broomfield’s housing fund. 

While most of the speakers during a public comment session during Tuesday’s PUD hearing were enthusiastically in favor of the project, achieving consensus on the Broomfield Town Square project, in the works for a half-decade, was no easy task, and concerns about aspects such as density and tax implications persist. 

Worries about density were assuaged by the reduction in homes proposed in the revised PUD, and Alliance brought its own financial expert who put forth a model that disputed tabulations made by city staff, which showed that Broomfield Town Square — eligible for tax incentive packages worth north of $70 million over 20 years — could be an annual loser for city coffers. 

Broomfield leaders swallowed concerns about the cost of lake maintenance and drought with a chaser of hope that the water feature will be a regional draw and differentiate the city’s new downtown from neighboring communities. 

An energized, centrally located gathering space “is a place we currently lack,” Broomfield Chamber of Commerce president Pat Monacelli said. 

Broomfield Town Square is expected to be “good for the business community” both for the new operations that move into the commercial space, but also for existing businesses with employees in need of housing options, he said. 

If all goes according to plan, Broomfield Town Square’s development will bring to a close a five-plus year effort by city and business leaders to redevelop the former Safeway site, which Broomfield bought in 2015.

The developer still must bring forth specific design and building plans for approval before breaking ground, which planning documents show could occur in late 2022 into 2023. 

Source: BizWest