Planning for the NW Subarea / Wheat Ridge · Ward Station
The Northwest Subarea is the area surrounding the Wheat Ridge · Ward Station at the northwest corner of the City’s boundary.
The area extends approximately from Interstate-70 to W. 52nd Avenue and from Ward Road to Tabor Street. A tremendous amount of planning effort has focused on the station area over the last 10 years. Three of the most recent planning efforts are summarized below.
2013 Subarea Plan
City Council adopted an updated version of the Northwest Subarea Plan at a public hearing on Monday, October 14, 2013. The updated subarea plan lays the groundwork for what transit-oriented development (TOD) could look like in Wheat Ridge.
The original subarea plan was adopted in 2006 to help inform the design for the Wheat Ridge · Ward Station. The updated subarea plan reflects RTD’s progress since 2006 and also builds upon important City accomplishments such as the 2009 comprehensive plan and 2010 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The updated plan retains the original version of transit-oriented development in the subarea, but it refines certain goals and policies to achieve that vision.
Transit-oriented development-often called TOD-is generally characterized by the presence of transit, bicycle and pedestrian amenities, a variety of housing options, and a mix of retail, office, open space and public uses. By combining housing, jobs, and transportation choices in a small area, TOD can lower living costs, reduce the need for driving, support active living, strengthen and diversify tax revenues, and promote more efficient use of land and infrastructure.
2015 ULI TAP Report
In February 2015, the City partnered with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to host a Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) to study the area surrounding the Wheat Ridge Ward Station. ULI is an association of real estate professionals including brokers, developers, planners and designers who donate their time to further best practices in real estate development. TAPs are a service provided by ULI as a way to generate ideas regarding local real estate challenges. The TAP presented an opportunity for the City to get an external perspective on realistic land use and density expectations for the NW Subarea based on its existing land use character.
The TAP process was a day and a half event that included a diverse group of professionals from the Denver metro area with experience in transit-oriented development, multi-family development, industrial real estate, public private finance, and urban design. In addition to touring the site, the panel interviewed over two dozen stakeholders including property and business owners, employers, and elected officials. At the end of the TAP, the panel presented their recommendations which have since been provided in a Final TAP Report..
Some of the recommendations include building a strong multi-modal street grid, branding the area, recruiting more job based land uses including possibly a creative incubator space, and creating a diverse mix of housing surrounding the station. The final report was presented to City Council on June 15, 2015, and Council was receptive to the panel’s recommendations.
2017 Vision Document
To build off the subarea plan and TAP recommendations, the City contracted with WSP to refine the vision for the Wheat Ridge · Ward Station area. The vision and implementation matrix provide a professional recommendation intended to help catalyze redevelopment in the area and leverage the City’s $12 million in future 2E infrastructure investments. The vision supports an outdoor recreation theme by embracing an urban street grid, a variety of recreational amenities, a mix of land uses, and a suggested focus on the outdoor recreation industry.
The central components of the vision document include employment-related land uses such as co-working and maker space, a regional park, active public space, a linear park, an urban street grid and multimodal connectivity, a pedestrian bridge, and pop-up or special events to attract attention to the area.
The report was presented to City Council and Planning Commission in April and May 2017, at which time both groups endorsed the vision. Staff is currently in the process of conducting outreach to property owners and developers and determining how best to leverage the Investing 4 the Future funds for the station area.
Transit Station and Opportunity Zone Prospectus
In 2019 RTD opened the G-Line, a commuter rail station connecting Union Station to the Wheat Ridge (need the dot here) Ward Station. The station and opens opportunities for commercial and residential development as well as a way for employers to bring their employees to work in a safe, convenient, and timely fashion.
In 2018, Wheat Ridge was awarded designation as an Opportunity Zone. Located just south of the transit station, this is a tract of land eligible for federal tax credits, under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. Investors who develop in the zone receive favorable treatment of reinvested capital gains and forgiveness of tax on new capital gains. The goal is to spur long-term investment in the area. The Wheat Ridge Opportunity Zone includes land in both Wheat Ridge and neighboring Arvada.
- Updated Northwest Subarea Plan (2013)
- ULI Final TAP Report (2015)
- Denver Post article on Base Camp vision (Dec 2016)
- Wheat Ridge · Ward Station Area Vision Plan (2017)
- RTD G Line Information
- Station Area Infrastructure Projects
For questions regarding the Northwest Subarea and Wheat Ridge · Ward Station area, you may contact Lauren Mikulak, Planning Manager, at 303-235-2845 or [email protected].