Casa Bonita had been the landmark tenant of the JCRS Shopping Center, at 6500 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood, for forty years when the property was sold last April. But new owner Broad Street has confirmed not only that Casa Bonita is staying put, but it's on a long-term lease for the first time in its existence, giving the place a chance to spend money on capital improvements. And Broad Street is in the process of sprucing up the center, which is only two blocks from the light-rail station. According to Erin Torres of Broad Street, two new art galleries are going into Lamar Station, the center's new name, and they'll be joined by a coffeehouse, a brewery and a destination indoor/outdoor food market.
And, of course, Casa Bonita will remain at the center. "We're really trying to grow off it, with a local, organic kind of synergy," says Torres.
The market will be part of that growth. “I’ve done urban farming,” says Barb Moore, who’s helping put the project together for Broad Street. “I’m basically a proponent of four-season growing in Colorado,” she adds, and she proves it at Harvest Mountain Farm Gardens, her farm and greenhouse at 1875 Wadsworth Boulevard. She also teaches urban farming at Metropolitan State University of Denver, which is in the process of creating a 21-hour certificate in urban gardening.
The school already offers several courses in the field, and Moore will be teaching a farm-to-table class this fall. “It’s quite unique,” she says. “Our audience is nutrition students and hospitality students. I’m actually working with the restaurant and food people, and I’m going to connect them to the farmer. I really want to teach people in Colorado that you can start growing in March and go through November — the seeds know what to do.”
Moore is looking for someone who already knows that to run the year-round market — a grower, or someone who works with growers. “The key is to really find your relationship with the winter growers so you know that you have a supply of greens coming in there,” she says. But a setup like that requires another kind of green, and so she’s also talking to entrepreneurial types who might have an interest in getting the project off the ground.
The target date for the market’s opening is June 15. If you’re interested in learning more, e-mail [email protected]