Economic Development Newsletter
Corners Shifts Gears cont’d
Renewal Wheat Ridge, the City’s Urban Renewal Authority is participating in the project through the use of $6.2 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the construction of public improvements. These improvements in part include site drainage, road improvements to Wadsworth and 38th, providing utilities to the project, access, parking, and public amenities.
As part of the funding available through Wheat Ridge URA, asbestos remediation began at the site’s existing buildings in February. Once that process is complete, the developer will demolish the remaining structures. Groundbreaking on phase one of the development will get the project underway in the next couple of months. For more information, please contact Steve Art 303-235-2806
Entrepreneur Profile cont’d
What made Wheat Ridge stand out when you began searching for a new space?
I met with Wheat Ridge Economic Development Manager Steve Art and he was incredibly helpful. He met me at the building I’m now in with the City’s fire marshal and the head of the building department and each of them told me what was required in terms of property improvements. They were very responsive. I had looked in Denver, Lakewood, Arvada, and Golden and I ruled out all of those areas after meeting with Steve. He digs in and finds the folks you need to talk to and makes sure they are there when you have a question.
So what has your experience been like working with the City?
Wheat Ridge is about consistency. When I sat down with the City and discussed what I wanted to do, I didn’t love all the answers I got. But those answers didn’t change during the six-month build- out process. When I call the City or the building department, I get a person who listens to what I have to say and gives a well thought-out response. That shouldn’t seem remarkable, but it is and I appreciate it so much. For a small business like us, what’s important is responsiveness and consistency. To have the City not create additional risk is such a help.
Why did you decide that it made sense to open a take-out outlet on the same site?
When we did the original renovation to create a production kitchen, we left the office alone and knew we would do something with it someday. I wanted to have a retail outlet for the caramels and a space to associate with the brand. I missed Texas food, and I thought, “well, let’s see if other people would enjoy this as well.”
We’ve found that Wheat Ridge is a great place to do this kind of business. It’s a challenge in other cities to find a building this size with this much parking. We’re close to Denver, Arvada, Lakewood, and Golden and we pull customers from all of these places. We also have customers from Fort Collins and Castle Rock, so we have become a destination. We usually sell out.
How has Wheat Ridge changed since you moved your business to the city?
The City continues to grow. People are seeing what a great destination it is for all people in all stages of life. If you are a retired person, there are great reasons to live in Wheat Ridge. If you have a young family, it is also a great place to live. People are investing here more and more.
Would you recommend Wheat Ridge to other entrepreneurs looking for a location to expand or start a business?
I would recommend Wheat Ridge for lots of different kinds of small businesses. I think Wheat Ridge is a great place to be. One of the things I think is important is the work that Localworks does to get people involved and improve the City in both small and large ways. This year’s RidgeFest, for example, was the biggest yet. We like seeing the businesses around us improve thanks to their efforts. I was able to reach Britta Fisher (Localworks Executive Director) and when I met her at her office, we hopped in her car and drove 38th and 44th. Localworks is a non-profit corporation that helps facilitate and encourage appropriate development in Wheat Ridge and is focused on advancing the community as a vibrant, sustainable community. Britta gave me a ton of information on several buildings along those streets – the kind of detail that is hard to access as a new person in town. Britta’s willingness to follow through and her knowledge base are some of the key reasons why a new business should consider Wheat Ridge.
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Watch for our Economic Development Newsletter on a quarterly basis. For more information on projects and development opportunities in Wheat Ridge, contact Steve Art 303-235-2806