It is no secret that Downtown Cheyenne has been in need of revitalization for a long time. I’ve been around for 20 of those years and can say that it is only in the past year or two that I’ve felt the momentum swing in the right direction ... that finally there is the energy and dedication to make it happen.
It will be a community effort, but we can do it. And an important piece of the momentum is the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority (DDA). With a new staff, board and director, the DDA is playing a crucial role in attracting development dollars to downtown. That’s what their charter tells them to do, and they’re doing it.
I am taking this opportunity to express my full support for the DDA in the upcoming mill levy election. I’ve been a downtown business owner for more than 20 years, and am the current owner of two larger downtown buildings. I’ve voted for the mill levy in the past, but believe that this year it is more important than ever to cast a “yes” vote in support of its renewal.
There are a lot of good things happening downtown from a property development point of view, including:
- The old Z’s Furniture building was finally torn down and a new beautiful city building is going up;
- The buildings on the corner of 17th and Carey have been beautifully restored and brought back into active uses;
- The Los Abuelos building was sold and is being transformed into a great new venue for Array, with a ground floor announcement coming soon;
- The Bell Building sold and is being converted to residences and on-site parking;
- The Plains Hotel continues to see ongoing investment and improvements, and is a gem in our downtown;
- The Hynds Building has had significant interest in the past six months, with several developers stepping up to express interest and explore the possibilities in seeing that beautiful building come to life again;
- The Mendicino Building has been purchased and is now undergoing a transformation – with plans for a new downtown business that will complement the existing mix;
- The Goodyear Building has sold and is also being remodeled; with the owner exploring innovative eatery/entertainment concepts to not only bring people in, but build a stronger social connection;
- West Edge Collective and Warehouse Twenty One have invested in the West Edge with new stunning new HQ facilities;
- Ten new beautiful townhomes are being built downtown. The Lotus Townhouses, one block from the Rib and Chop House, are a gorgeous example of new residential development in downtown Cheyenne, which is an important component of revitalization.
Great things with business development are happening, as well, including:
- Alexis Drake set the standard for boutique manufacturing with a great storefront, with beautifully handcrafted items, that sells from both brick-and-mortar and online locations;
- Red Bison Home is a new furniture and home goods store that has found a nice niche with its product lines;
- Chronicles Distilling is up and running, with such success that it’s hard for the owners to keep up with demand;
- The Metropolitan Restaurant has opened. It’s a great spot with great fine dining in a really nice atmosphere; and
- Black Tooth Brewing is coming soon. Its location in the old Pioneer Printing building will be a good nexus between downtown, the Civic Center area and the West Edge.
These are just a few examples of the good things happening. And we want to keep them going. All these things are integral to the success of downtown, but it’s important that we continue to build on these successes to really maximize the potential of our downtown.
I think we will all benefit by continuing to support the DDA. The DDA has proven that they can help revitalize our downtown, and it’s important to allow them to continue their job. A vibrant downtown is critical to the entire city of Cheyenne, and it is the downtown property owners that can make it happen by supporting the mill levy.
Let’s keep things headed in the right direction.