The development project that aims to redefine downtown Castle Rock by bringing hundreds more people to live, work and shop in the district is just months from opening. The Riverwalk, positioned …
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The development project that aims to redefine downtown Castle Rock by bringing hundreds more people to live, work and shop in the district is just months from opening.
The Riverwalk, positioned between First and Third streets facing Wilcox, comprises a six-level building to the south of Sellars Gulch and another five-level building on the north, ringing in at $65 million.
After more than two years of construction, developers expect to open the south portion in March and the north in May. In total, the mixed-use Riverwalk is bringing 34,000 square feet of office space, 14,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and 230 apartments to the heart of downtown Castle Rock.
Residential, office and retail — that's important to Kevin Tilson, director of the Downtown Alliance.
“If you want an active downtown, you want all three components,” he said. “I understand that with change and construction there can be inconveniences, but I really think that the overall impact of Riverwalk is a really exciting and positive one for our downtown.”
Situated across from town hall and the $7 million Festival Park, the Riverwalk is connected to trails and centrally positioned in the downtown business district.
A 32-ton pedestrian bridge above Sellars Gulch connects the south building to the north's pool deck. More than 300 parking spaces will be internal to the buildings below ground and at the street level.
“We're really, I think, the first true walkable project in Castle Rock, of mixed-use development,” said Tony De Simone of Confluence Companies. “Everything else is kind of suburban.”
De Simone said they “realize you'll need a car to get to the Riverwalk,” but they hope once people arrive they'll choose to walk to other downtown destinations — whether that's residents enjoying Sunday brunch, office users taking a weekday lunch or people shopping in the area.
The buildings' one-, two- and three-bedroom units range in price from $1,290 to $2,400 a month. Leasing was set to begin in early December, but 200 people were already on an “interest list” as of late November.
De Simone said they expect the first residents to move in by March, and they're shooting to have at least 116 tenants under lease by this spring.
The first people who will call the Riverwalk home can expect a local, not-yet-named restaurant group to bring an eatery into the south building. A Glacier Ice Cream shop will also be open for business by then, De Simone said.
In the north will be a marketplace modeled after The Denver Central Market with a brewery and multiple other vendors, including a deli, coffee bar, pizza shop and more.
“I can't announce the name yet but it's one of the top-five brewers in the state brewing beer from there,” De Simone said.
Additionally, there will be a co-work space and talks are continuing with Emmy-Winning production company Dorsey Pictures, which requested an incentive agreement from the town to relocate its headquarters from Jefferson County to the Riverwalk.
That would mean good-paying jobs downtown, Tilson said.
Some of the Riverwalk's neighboring business owners remain optimistic the development will boost sales in the area. The Riverwalk will employ fewer than 10 on-site positions to staff the apartments but also bring “several hundred office users” to the area, De Simone said.
Chris Romo manages Z'Abbracci, a pizza, pasta and taphouse one block from the Riverwalk. Romo said concern around the project focused on the potential for more traffic congestion, but he wasn't worried.
He believes people living and working at the Riverwalk will mostly travel on foot throughout downtown. He hopes that means more traffic in his restaurant as well.
“We look forward to this thing getting off the ground,” he said.
Lou Scileppi, owner of downtown Italian restaurant Scileppi's at the Old Stone Church, said he also sees potential in the Riverwalk to increase business.
“I believe in the vision,” Scileppi said. “I see it as a win-win for everybody.”
Scileppi knows De Simone personally through their children's school, he said, and thinks the project show's his commitment to improving Castle Rock. De Simone is a 12-year resident of the town.
Councilmember Jason Bower, who represents the downtown district, said in an email the project could be critical to keeping small businesses in the area.
“It's important to our community that downtown is filled with unique, mom-and-pop small business and restaurants, instead of big-name franchises, but it has to be supported” he said. “Having people live downtown (boots on the ground) provides that support.”
Bower owns Castle Rock Music, a family-owned and operated downtown business since 2005. He recalled the downtown business climate during the Great Recession as one with empty storefronts replaced by pawn shops and check-cashing vendors.
That's no longer the case, he said.
“Downtown is on the up,” Bower said, “and becoming a special, vibrant place that residents can be proud of and call their own.”
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