Westminster loads cart with Marczyk Fine Foods
The city of Westminster wants to be the Front Range’s next urban hub — and it might be on its way.
Marczyk Fine Foods, a Denver grocer that prides itself on being a one-stop shop for fine ingredients, announced Wednesday that it will open its third location in downtown Westminster, marking a turning point for the development.
Marczyk, which its owner describes as the “unicorn” of grocers, is the latest creative business to announce plans to join the area. And when the project is complete near the end of 2018, the market will neighbor a movie theater that doubles as a draft house and residential buildings certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
The Westminster Mall was torn down in the hopes of building a more successful and unique outdoor downtown shopping area. The 105-acre site, at U.S. 36 and Sheridan Boulevard, is hoping to “redefine” suburban America.
Sarah Nurmela, Westminster’s downtown real estate and development manager, said other businesses that share similar target markets and community goals are in the process of signing leases. She hopes the businesses that have announced plans to open in the space, including Marczyk, are an indication of where the development is headed.
“(Marczyk) is very representative of the types of businesses and the experience that we want to have in the downtown, so you’ll see more businesses with the same character,” Nurmela said.
The market will occupy a 9,000-squarefoot space on the first floor of Origin Hotel, an “experience driven” independent hotel collection.
Pete Marczyk, co-founder and CEO of Marczyk Fine Foods, said he became interested in Westminster after a persistent customer — who happened to be a broker on the downtown project — told him about it while he was searching for a third location. Then an architect introduced him to Thrash Group, another family-owned business and the developer of Origin.
“It seems crazy, and maybe it is, but we make things work or die trying,” Marczyk said about combining spaces with the hotel. “We were compelled by their vision.”
Nurmela said Westminster’s downtown is looking to differentiate itself from the rest of the northwest Denver corridor. Indeed, she says the area will be a regional destination. The development is based on a “block by block” process rather than having a master plan.
“(Marczyk) is indicative of the tone that we’re trying to set with this city area,” Nurmela said. “We’re working hard to attract businesses that have the same vision we have.”
Other Denver suburbs have made big bets on mixed-use projects designed to attract visitors to redeveloped retail areas — including Lakewood’s Belmar and Centennial’s Streets at Southglenn.
Marczyk has previously taken on the role as a trendsetter for a neighborhood. Its first two locations — one in North Capitol Hill and the other on East Colfax Avenue near the state Capitol — had businesses develop around them.
“We’re used to being pioneers,” Marczyk said. “Even on Colfax, people were wondering what we were doing. But markets really have a catalyzing effect on neighborhoods, and we felt like we could make this work.”
The trendsetter is good news for Westminster. Nurmela said residents can expect other business announcements in the coming months.
“They’ve gone into areas that are less established and have been a significant factor in building a stronger neighborhood,” Nurmela said. “That’s what they anticipate doing in the downtown as well.”
Marczyk said his business isn’t the secret, although he did admit that grocery stores and markets can be the foundation and center of a community.
“We’re one small thread in the fabric of a neighborhood,” Marczyk said. “It takes some time.”
Marczyk’s third location will be known as Marczyk 2.0. Though separate entities, it will be connected to the lobby area of the hotel next to a retailer not yet decided. The Westminster hotel will be Origin’s second in Colorado — it is building the Origin Red Rocks near Morrison.
The market will break ground in Westminster by the end of the year. The store will house a full-service fresh grocery, wine, liquor and in-store seating for the deli and prepared foods.
“Westminster is in a dynamic phase of its evolution as a city,” Marczyk said. “I’m most excited for crystallizing this group of neighborhoods.”