Urban Renewal Areas
Pursuant to the Westminster Municipal Code and Title 31 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, The Westminster Economic Development Authority (WEDA) was created to provide a regulatory and financial vehicle for improving and redeveloping properties and facilities within defined urban renewal areas (URAs).
Accordingly, WEDA was authorized to provide funding for administration, planning and financing of revitalization and redevelopment projects. WEDA’s principal revenue sources are sales tax increment and property tax increment within each of the URAs.
Since its inception in 1987, WEDA has established seven URAs:
- Holly Park
- Mandalay Gardens
- North Huron
- South Sheridan
- South Westminster
- Westminster Center East Sub-Area
- Westminster Center Urban Reinvestment Project
Westminster City Council serves as the WEDA Board of Directors.
The Finance Department generally provides administrative services to WEDA; however the City Manager’s Office and the Department of Community Development manages the redevelopment projects and, in some cases, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Libraries performs required maintenance.
See a map of the URAs.
The Finance Department provides quarterly updates on the financial position for each of the WEDA URAs. You can view these updates below.
WEDA Financial Update - Feb. 11, 2013
WEDA Financial Update - Nov. 19, 2012
In addition, you can view the WEDA budget for 2013-14.
Below are descriptions and background on each of the seven urban renewal areas.
Holly Park URA
Holly Park URA was established Feb. 23, 2004. The URA encompasses approximately 23 acres along the west side of Federal Boulevard between 96th and 97th avenues. The main objective of the URA plan is to renovate or redevelop the deteriorated, unsafe and outdated buildings as well as eliminate the unsafe, unsanitary and unhealthy conditions resulting from abandonment of a defunct residential project. On July 25, 2005, Westminster City Council approved an allocation to the General Capital Improvement Fund for the Holly Park project of $1,125,000 from the 2004 carryover funds. On June 12, 2006, those funds were moved from the General Capital Improvement Fund to a WEDA Capital Project account for Holly Park.
After a protracted legal battle, on April 11, 2006, WEDA was granted title to the Holly Park property and immediately thereafter moved to demolish the abandoned structures. WEDA will ultimately realize revenue from the redevelopment of the project, in the form of a purchase price from a to-be-named developer that will complete the project, and in the form of incremental tax revenue generated by the completed project. The intent is for this revenue to be used to repay the city for total amounts loaned of $1,245,000 to WEDA for the Holly Park redevelopment. Due to current real estate market conditions, redevelopment within the Holly Park URA has not yet occurred. With the economic downturn, there has been virtually no interest in purchasing the property. The city continues to maintain the property and will do so until the property is sold.
Mandalay Gardens URA
WEDA initiated a redevelopment project in 2003 known as the Shops at Walnut Creek. This redevelopment project is generally bound by U.S. 36, Church Ranch Boulevard and the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe railroad line. In 2003, variable-rate, taxable, tax-increment revenue bonds were issued for the development of the Shops at Walnut Creek located within in the URA. Debt service on the bonds is paid with tax-increment revenues. The city pledged the 3 percent general sales tax as security for the bonds. That pledge was reduced to 1.75 percent in October 2007. The bonds were refunded to variable-rate, tax-exempt, tax-increment revenue bonds in March 2006. Unexpectedly in late 2008, the WEDA 2006 bonds converted from variable rate bonds to bank bonds when the Letter of Credit bank’s credit rating was downgraded. Outstanding principal of $35,830,000 on the bonds was successfully refunded in September 2009.
As part of the bond refinancing in 2009, the sales tax pledge was increased from 1.75 percent to 3 percent. In March 2010 the pledge dropped to 0 percent because property tax increment, intergovernmental revenues and accumulated excess revenues were sufficient to meet the URA’s debt service and other obligations. The city anticipates that property tax increment and accumulated excess revenues will continue to meet spending requirements in 2012 and that the pledge will remain at 0 percent. With the sales tax pledge at 0 percent, all sales tax collections in this URA will be retained by the city.
North Huron URA
WEDA established the North Huron URA on Jan. 26, 2004. The boundaries of the URA are approximately 124th to 150th avenues, from Interstate 25 to Huron Street. In 2005, variable-rate, tax-exempt, tax-increment revenue bonds were issued for development in the URA, including the interchange at 144th Avenue and I-25, Huron Street improvements from approximately 128th Avenue to 150th Avenue and the public improvements at The Orchard Town Center. Debt service on the bonds is paid with tax-increment revenues.
Unexpectedly, in late 2008, the bonds converted from variable rate bonds to bank bonds when the Letter of Credit bank’s credit rating was downgraded. Outstanding principal of $65,990,000 on the bonds, net of a $2,510,000 principal pay-down from excess bond proceeds, was successfully refunded in May 2009.
Prior to the refinancing, the sales tax pledge was 2 percent, exclusive of the 1 percent pledged to Thornton per a revenue-sharing agreement dated Nov. 10, 2004. (Per a second agreement, Thornton will use some or all of this revenue as needed to pay their share of the cost of the 144th Avenue interchange at I-25.) As part of the bond refinancing in 2009, the sales tax pledge was decreased from 2 percent to 1 percent. In March 2010 the pledge dropped to 0 percent because property tax increment was sufficient to meet the URA’s debt service and other obligations. The city anticipates that this will continue to be the case in 2012 and that the pledge will remain at 0 percent. With the sales tax pledge at 0 percent, all sales tax collections in this URA will be retained by the city.
South Sheridan URA
The South Sheridan URA was established by WEDA on March 29, 2004. The approximate boundaries of the URA are commercial and vacant land north of 70th Avenue, east of Depew Street, south of 75th Avenue, and west of Xavier Street. On June 22, 2007, WEDA issued variable-rate, tax-exempt, tax-increment revenue bonds of $8,320,000 to finance the construction of public infrastructure improvements in the URA. Debt service on the bonds will be paid with tax-increment revenues. Unexpectedly, in late 2008, the bonds converted from variable rate bonds to bank bonds when the Letter of Credit bank’s credit rating was downgraded. Outstanding principal of $8,075,000 on the bonds was successfully refunded in June 2009.
An increase in property tax revenues and accumulated excess revenues enabled a reduction in the sales tax pledge to 2.3 percent from 3.0 percent for this URA beginning in March 2011. Therefore, the sales tax increment will decrease approximately $384,288 from the 2012 adopted budget. With the sales tax pledge at 2.3 percent, a portion of the sales tax collections in this URA will be retained by the city.
South Westminster URA
WEDA, organized by City Council on Sept. 14, 1987, was first established to revitalize and redevelop the city’s older commercial areas in the general vicinity of 72nd Avenue and Federal Boulevard. The South Westminster URA includes two phases. The original Phase I includes the Westminster Plaza area. In October 1992, the South Westminster URA boundaries were expanded with the addition being called Phase II. In 1996, WEDA authorized city staff to begin the process of redeveloping the Westminster Plaza Shopping Center. Per WEDA’s direction, in conjunction with the acquisition effort, WEDA authorized the issuance of bonds to provide financing for the project. The bonds are repaid from the tax increment generated in the urban renewal area, including the redeveloped Westminster Plaza shopping center, anchored by a grocery store.
Unexpectedly, in June 2009, the Letter of Credit bank decided to exit the credit enhancement business and the bonds needed to be refunded. Outstanding principal on the bonds of $5,330,000 was successfully refunded in 2009 when the city purchased them as part of its investment portfolio.
Westminster Center East Sub-Area URA
WEDA established the Westminster Center East Sub-Area URA on Dec. 8, 2003. The approximate boundaries of the URA are commercial properties north of the Burlington Northern Railroad just south of the Westminster Mall running north to 98th Avenue, west of Sheridan Boulevard and east of Harlan Street. The URA boundaries include City Center Park at the northeastern corner of 92nd Avenue and Yates Street, but do not include the Westminster Mall.
The preliminary 2011 incremental valuations certified by Jefferson County and Adams County are used to calculate property tax increment paid to the URA in 2012. Current market values resulted in a preliminary tax-increment valuation of $4,609,763 in Jefferson County for 2011, a decrease of $412,887 from 2010. This valuation will produce an estimated $354,357 in property tax increment for 2012. The preliminary incremental assessed valuation of property in Adams County remains at $0, which is no change from the 2012 adopted budget.
Westminster Center Urban Reinvestment Project Area
On April 13, 2009, City Council approved Resolution 12, Series 2009, which established the Westminster Center Urban Reinvestment Plan Area and the Reinvestment Plan. Because tax-increment financing has not been established for this project, no operating budget is proposed for 2012. As the project progresses, supplemental appropriations will be brought to the WEDA board to amend the budget as necessary.
The unspent project funds continue to earn interest. It is anticipated that this URA will continue to receive rental income in 2012 from the tenants still operating on the Westminster Mall site; however, the amount of rent may fluctuate. To be conservative, the city has determined that rent income, interest earnings and any other miscellaneous income will be appropriated through quarterly supplemental appropriations in 2012.
Year-to-date, the city’s participation funds in the WURP project total $30,062,409. Negotiations are continuing with a major national developer to redevelop this site into a high-density, mixed-use downtown. The timelines have not been finalized for this redevelopment; however, it is anticipated that construction will commence in 2014.