Designers to reveal future of retail area

Open house set on plans for Entertainment District

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The design team charged with studying Lone Tree’s Entertainment District will reveal its vision for the area’s future during a July 25 community open house. Residents and business owners are invited to drop in between 4 and 7 p.m. at the district’s Bridge Centers building, home to Panera Bread, to take a peek at the plans.

A brief presentation is planned at 6 p.m.

The district, off Yosemite Street and Park Meadows Drive, was developed under the county and later annexed into Lone Tree. City officials long have hoped to improve access into the center, traffic and pedestrian flow through it and its overall appearance. The center includes the United Artists theater, Mimi’s Cafe, the Brunswick Zone and Sky Venture Colorado, among others.

In April, the city hired consulting team 505 Design in May to create a proposal that ideally will drive more traffic to the center. Consultants have since met with residents, tenants, customers and business owners.

Although 505 Design’s managing principal John Ward wouldn’t talk specifics, his enthusiasm about the plan is clear.

“I think it’s very exciting,” he said. “We did a lot of public outreach (and) there’s a real consistency in that community about what they’re looking for and how they think about things. So it leads us to a pretty unified answer.”

The brightly colored Mellow Mushroom, the district’s newest and one of its most visible tenants, helps set the stage for change, he said.

“It’s part of the vibrancy that area really needs to have,” Ward said. “I think it fits in very well with the vision of where that area needs to go. The more differentiation (there is) that appeals to different groups of people, the more vibrancy that area will have.”

Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Millet agreed, saying the Entertainment District’s location gives the city more design leeway than in other parts of Lone Tree.

“This building up in RidgeGate probably wouldn’t fly,” she said of the Mellow Mushroom. “This building in the Safeway center wouldn’t fly. This building in the entertainment district? It fits with the character of the buildings that are there.

“It certainly is a departure from a traditional Lone Tree color palette. But if all you could do is pick from three colors, we would have a pretty generic community. We’re here to be critical thinkers, not to just check a box ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”

Millet said the city plans to work with business owners in the Entertainment District to revamp the area.

“This is new Lone Tree City Council thinking,” she said. “If you’re willing to help yourself, we’re willing to help you, and it’ll be better for everybody. We’ve been very successful as a community when we operate that way.”

Lone Tree’s $100,000 contract with 505 Design is a two-phased plan that also calls for the firm to come up with financing recommendations for the potential project.

Anyone unable to attend the meeting who has questions or comments about the project can call or email Jennifer Drybread at 303-708-1818, jennifer.drybread@cityoflonetree.com.

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