The Lakewood-West Colfax Business Improvement District (BID) was formed in 2011 following a multi-year campaign that included scores of community meetings, dozens of presentations to civic groups, and a successful petition process and special election. With the results of the Nov. 1, 2011 special election, The Lakewood-West Colfax BID was established as a duly formed business improvement district under Colorado State Revised Statutes.
It is a tribute to the West Colfax community, its property and business owners as well as supporting neighborhood and civic organizations, who demonstrated their belief and commitment to the corridor by investing time and resources, in the effort to form the BID. The West Colfax Community Association (WCCA), 40 West Arts (40W), Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design (RMCAD), local business and property owners and a broad range of other neighborhood groups and involved citizens played an integral role in the successful effort to form the Lakewood-West Colfax BID. With the BID as a unifying voice, these groups are working together to manifest the vision embodied in the West Colfax Avenue Action Plan.
The BID is working to revitalize the West Colfax Corridor by focusing on the following:
- Awareness programs, special events, and other economic development activities to increase knowledge and appreciation of West Colfax businesses and attract more and new customers to the area
- Capital improvements, i.e. streetscapes, median enhancements, pedestrian amenities and other safety and beautification programs to create a revitalized identity
- Programs and/or incentives for local businesses to encourage clean-up initiatives and frontage improvements
- Creation and ongoing operation of cultural districts along West Colfax to develop and promote appealing consumer destinations along the avenue
- A unified voice for the business and property owners that will allow the district to attract public and private grants, thus bringing additional dollars for programs and improvements to the corridor
These five focus areas all appear in the West Colfax Avenue Action Plan. In addition, these focus areas are aligned with a 2011 survey of corridor property and business owners.
Programs and activities fall into three broad categories: 1) Economic development and awareness; 2) District image and identity; and 3) Program management and related communications. More details of each category are provided herein.
Economic Development and District Awareness—A variety of initiatives are proposed to enhance the overall image and marketability of the Lakewood-West Colfax Corridor and to create a favorable business climate to recruit, retain and grow businesses and new development. The BID Board of Directors will set annual priorities for economic development projects. Options include:
—Business Attraction Programs will assist brokers and property owners to attract new businesses and development along the Lakewood-West Colfax Corridor. Business and developer attraction program options include the creation of an information package and periodic seminars for brokers, developers, investors, property owners and tenants for the district and connecting interested parties with the resources and people to improve current vacancy and encourage development and redevelopment opportunities. Also, as part of both business attraction and identity programs –as well as its commitment to overall advocacy for the West Colfax corridor, the BID will continue to support the efforts of the West Colfax Community Association and 40 West Arts District within the corridor. NOTE: The BID programs herein are, in and of themselves, incentives for businesses to locate within the district.
—Business Support Programs will help businesses stay and flourish within the Lakewood-West Colfax District. The BID will provide support for businesses and will help coordinate and support collaboration among businesses and other corridor organizations for such initiatives such as web awareness, promotions, media relations, social media and special events. Our web resources (launch of new westcolfax.org site), our social media platforms (Facebook & Twitter), and email communications are the cornerstones of our business support and outreach efforts. The BID can also provide liaison services to aid businesses and developers in navigating through the City of Lakewood development review and permitting process.
—Community Engagement Programs will promote the district and the businesses and destinations along the Lakewood-West Colfax Corridor. Options include collaborative and cross-marketing efforts among organizations and businesses to promote the area as well as establishing an informative and entertaining periodical to circulate within the corridor and throughout the neighborhoods, along with a digital version as an eNewsletter to promote the corridor within the district and outside the region to attract more and new customers and more and new investment to the area.
—BID Stakeholder Communications will keep stakeholders involved and informed, through community meetings, regarding the activities within the district and the programs spearheaded or supported by the BID.
—Special Events, unique to the area, will help to attract interest and pull customers to the area. The BID will continue its efforts to support and promote corridor events, including arts, music, and other cultural activities, automotive and motorcycle events, restaurant and history tours, business openings and events, and other themed events to create more energy and excitement about the area and give more people reasons to visit the corridor.
District Identity—In order to create a greater sense that the Lakewood-West Colfax Corridor is a unique, yet cohesive commercial district, the following initiatives are recommended:
—Visual Identity Programs are intended to promote the overall economic vitality and attractiveness of the area and augment a sense of visual identity for Lakewood-West Colfax Corridor. Visual identity concepts include:
- Gateway signs and/or treatments
- Street furniture and amenities
- Streetscape and landscape design and implementation
- Seasonal banners and decorations (as possible)
- Special projects in the corridor to help define and promote the District
- Ongoing maintenance
- Public art programs
- A branded trolley for circulator transportation within the district
—Safety and Security initiatives, including such programs as proactive code enforcement, periodic safety audits and promoting CPTED compliance, to improve patrons’ peace of mind and public perception.
—Capital Improvements such as public art, park development and amenities, streetscapes, pedestrian amenities, and sidewalk and curb improvements. By working with the City of Lakewood to advocate for capital improvement priorities and by seeking and supporting grants, the BID can help work toward the implementation of such improvements. The BID can issue bonds to pay for capital improvements if the Board chooses to do so. BID funds can also be used to match and leverage funds from other sources.
Program Management and Communications—To continue the momentum created by the multi-year, grassroots campaign to form the business improvement district, it is recommended the BID take an active role in advocacy for the corridor through activities such as the following:
—Active Involvement in the planning and implementation of BID programs, services and events
—Coordinated Efforts with the City of Lakewood, the City of Edgewater, the City of Denver, Denver’s West Colfax BID, WCCA, 40 West Arts, neighborhood organizations, real estate professionals, and the development community to support the successful redevelopment of targeted properties within the district
—Support “Green” Business Practices through coordinated efforts with public and private agencies that lead to energy and resource conservation and greater sustainability for the district
—Following Issues and Advocating for Policies that will positively influence the Lakewood-West Colfax Corridor in both the short- and long-term
—Seeking and Supporting Grants and Other External Funding to extend the BID’s capabilities with added funds for projects and improvements within the district
Key Accomplishments/Milestones to Date:
June 2011: Successful validation of BID petition by the City of Lakewood
June 2011: Leadership transition from City to BID to form and launch new Arts District
Sept. 2011: EZ Contribution Project designated for all of 40 West Arts
Nov. 2011: Successful Special Election with more than 77% of the vote
Jan. 2012: 40 West Urban Design & Mobility Plan adopted as amendment to City of Lakewood Comprehensive Plan
Feb.2012: Awarded Global Green USA Grant to serve as study area
March 2012: Grant recipient from State of Colorado and designation of 40 West Arts as an Emerging Creative District (1 of 14 others of 45 applicants)
April 2012: Awarded by DRCOG in collaboration with the City of Lakewood the Gold Level Award for Planning with Vision
May 2012: $20,000 grant for energy audits for district core area through partnerships with The Learning Source and the City of Lakewood
May 2012: Approx. $1M CDOT funding secured by City Public Works Department for 14th St. and Lamar Roundabout and sidewalks for Lamar St.
June 2012 Opened 40 West Arts Gallery
June 2012: First-ever juried art exhibition by 40 West during Lakewood’s INSPIRE! Week
June 2012: Contributed to the successful $900,000 EPA Brownfield Grant for Colfax Corridor
June 2012: Awarded 501(c)3 status for 40 West Arts
July 2012: Completed successful transition to new facility at 1560 Teller Street
Sept. 2012 Recertified 40 West Arts as an approved Contribution Project for the West Colfax Enterprise Zone
Nov. 2012 Awarded SIPA grant ($6000) for web resources
Jan. 2013 Facilitated The Edge Theater move to 40 West Arts
Feb. 2013 Awarded NPP Grant for Public Art Installation at 14th & Lamar Roundabout
March 2013 Supported ULI TAP study of Oak Street Station area
March 2013 Submitted for $35,000 Colorado State Historical Fund Grant
March 2013 Facilitated the leadership and operational transition of the West Colfax Community Association
April 2013 Supported ULI Developers Tour of West Colfax Corridor
April 2013 Supported light rail opening with multiple events at the Sheridan, Lamar, and Wadsworth stations
April 2013 Selected as a Study Area for Artspace
April 2013 Finished as runner-up for DRCOG Live-Work-Play Award
Apr.-May 2013 Led re-organization and transition of WCCA
June 2013 Contributed to the six-month effort to arrive at a City-wide Public Art Master Plan, published in June
June 2013 Launched new WestColfax.org portal for BID & WCCA to support local business
June 2013 Completed final report for CCI grant to qualify for PAN resource funding
June 2013 Augmented funding for public art ($7500) at Lamar and 14th roundabout to increase the scale of installation
July 2013 Received commitment from Colorado Guides Association to conduct a FAM Tour—a tour of tour guides to West Colfax in March 2014 with the objective of beginning a regular tour of the corridor
August 2013 Awarded historic resource survey grant ($37,500) from the State Historical Fund