Belmar is a lively, all-encompassing reimagination of downtown Lakewood. It reminds me of those old town village centers where people hang out and music fills the air.
From there, Belmar spans 22 square city blocks. There are plenty of restaurants, art galleries, coffee shops, a movie theater and a bowling alley as well as clothing and specialty stores.
Near Belmar is the Lakewood Cultural Center, which has a theatre and a rotating gallery space for artwork. Not too far from West Colfax Avenue is the 40 West Arts District – a creative zone with studios, galleries and public spaces.
The vicinity of Lakewood is surrounded by great outdoor spaces, including Bear Creek Lake Park and top golf courses like Fox Hollow Golf Course and Homestead.
This is the Lakewood Heritage Center, which celebrates the city’s varied history, culture and natural wonders. They specialize in indoor and outdoor exhibits that explore this topic.
Today, Belmar is a thriving downtown neighborhood in Lakewood and it covers 22 blocks. It’s just west of Denver and right next to Golden. There are 142,000 people living there and they’ve got a booming economy.
This is a great place to get outdoors and enjoy nature while still being so close to Denver for any of your usual needs. Whether you want some fast food or some expensive shopping, we gots it all here. Plus, shoppers can grab some fresh coffee and check out the latest trends on the sidewalks.
You wouldn’t know that this buzzing, pleasant place was – until just a couple of decades ago – a typical suburban mall that had outlived its life cycle.
Read more: West Gate Neighborhood in Lakewood CO
There is this mall called Villa Italia that opened to much fanfare in 1966. The mall was built on the site of what used to be the elegant Belmar estate. When it was operational, Denver Post heiress May Bonfils threw lavish parties there – she even recreated Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon château there!
When Villa Italia opened, it was one of the biggest malls in Colorado. Chances are that subconsciously, its opening played a big role in shaping the Lakewood community’s reputation since it was considered one of Denver’s crown jewels back in the day.
By the nineties, Villa Italia was in a slump just like several other malls from its generation. The main way to shop was outdated and people just weren’t coming anymore.
The Lakewood City Council is saying that it doesn’t want the downfall of the mall near downtown to affect everything else. They’re working on what they should do with this 104-acre plot and how it can impact other parts of town.
Continuum Partners, the site’s eventual buyers, worked with the city to develop plans for what would take the place of Villa Italia. The project involved many stakeholders and decisions were made towards its ambitious design based on input from citizens.