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 August 1, 1999

New businesses discover Niwot

NIWOT — With Niwot growing rapidly — with residents and new businesses — the business community is taking pains to preserve its historic nature and feel.

In the past year and a half, Niwot has attracted 15 new businesses in a four-block area downtown. The business growth downtown is nothing short of amazing, according to David Jackson, a Niwot dentist and president of the Niwot Business Association.

Strolling down Second Avenue toward the Niwot Historic District, Jackson points to his dental office located in a quaint old Victorian home on the west end of Second Avenue.

“This was my grandmother’s house,” he said. “My partner is drawing up plans for an expansion. We will build a new building here, incorporating this house.”

Treppeda’s, the Italian delicatessen just down the walkway, has expanded into the shop next door. They serve lunch and dinner, play host to wine-tasting events, sell imported olive oils and a variety of other items. Now they are offering music on Wednesday nights.

Locals are thrilled with the idea.

“We’ve never had a place to listen to music and have wine or beer,´ said Pat Murphy, owner of Niwot Realty. “It is a place for people to get together and have fun.”

Murphy says Niwot is changing and growing in very pleasant ways. She pointed out that the new Le Chantecler Restaurant, 210 Franklin St., will open sometime in August or September.

The restaurant is owned by Radek Cerny, who also owns Papillon and Radex restaurants in Denver. “It will be French food, but he wants it to be reasonably priced, and he wants it to be a gathering place for people,´ said Murphy.

Le Chantecler, French for rooster, is located in an old barn just on the edge of the historic district. The rooster theme seemed to go well with the old barn, said Eric Mandil, interior architect with Mandil Associates in Denver.

“We are calling it barn chic,” he said, referring to the interior decor. “We are making it feel contemporary French but casual. You can dress it up or dress it down. It is a casual bistro, and the food will be really excellent. The inside will be done in rooster colors. The dining room will be tangelo. These are all edible colors.”

Not only will the colors look good enough to eat; customers also will look good in the restaurant.

“People should look good there, too,´ said Mandil. “People go out to be seen, so if you look really beautiful there you will come back. The food will be really excellent, so it will be a nice dining experience.”

Le Chantecler Chef Alen Andre said the Niwot location was chosen because “Niwot has doubled its size in the last year, and this is a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.”

Jackson said three new buildings were constructed in Niwot in the last year: the new Niwot Inn on Second Avenue, the Lockwood House on Franklin Street with three rental shops, Botanica Home Bath and Garden, Artemia and Lockwood Antiques and the new office building in Cottonwood Shopping Center. The office space is under construction, Lockwood House is completed and Niwot Inn will open in August.

The Niwot Inn is a 14-room bed-and-breakfast that will be a showplace on the edge of the historic district. Owner William Coulson, who is also general contractor of his own project, calls the design of “craftsman” or “prairie-mission style.” The stone and wood exterior leads to a two-story cathedral ceiling interior of exposed carved beams, a huge wood stairway and rooms lining both sides of the building. A large dining and lounge area sits at one end of the building where breakfast will be served to guests.

The Niwot Antique Emporium recently was renovated to include six retail shops, including the Niwot Antique Emporium. Other shops include The Christmas Place, Wildheart Gallery, Eye Opener coffee shop, Berry Patch and Miss Kitty’s. Some have relocated to the Emporium, and some are new.

Several new retail shops have opened on Second Avenue including Twiggs, the Niwot Gallery, Mount’n Memories and Wiskers. Two other new restaurants are opening within two months: Yung’s recipe from Longmont is coming to Cottonwood Shopping Center, and Subway will be opening soon.

Niwot Vision Optical recently relocated to an office building in Cottonwood Shopping Center. Peak Body Sculpting opened on Second Avenue, and Holistic Health Care opened a shop across from the Bistro St. Tropez restaurant in Cottonwood Shopping Center. The CJ CafZ in Cottonwood is under new ownership.

“In the past, Niwot has been a very challenging place to start up a new business, and now we are seeing businesses last much longer,´ said Jackson. “There is such a variety of businesses here now that local people can do a lot of shopping in Niwot, and we are a destination place

to shop.”

Attributing the new growth in the business community to the staying power of businesses, Jackson pointed to the new Steele’s Market Niwot, a local grocery store with a pharmacy and a First National Bank branch inside, the new eye care center and Community First Bank.

“The two banks raced to be the first to open,” Jackson said. “And just a few years ago we didn’t have a bank here at all.”

Jackson and other merchants are pleased with the way Niwot is developing. But Niwot, like other small Front Range communities, wants to preserve the small-town ambiance.

“There is a strong interest among Niwot businesses to preserve the historic character of the town,” he said. “We have a design and review committee to review all designs in the two-block downtown historic district. New development outside the historic district has not reflected the historic guidelines, but most developers have asked the design committee for guidelines. We have a good working relationship with developers.

“There is this big wrestling match in the community as to what people want — do they want metal sheds that are functional or do they want new modern buildings?

“I believe that Niwotions would prefer a cohesive look that would reflect the historic nature of the town. But I don’t think that most people get actively involved in making decisions about the town.”

Jackson said Niwot has some concerns about being swallowed up by Longmont.

“We are struggling with not having Longmont come down upon us. We have 111 proposed new homes coming into Niwot,” he said.

The character of Niwot is changing to make way for progress: One fixture that has been a landmark in the community, the Niwot Auction hall on Second Avenue, is going to be replaced with retail shops, according to Jackson. But the Grange Hall is well used and still stands as a tribute to days gone by.

NIWOT — With Niwot growing rapidly — with residents and new businesses — the business community is taking pains to preserve its historic nature and feel.

In the past year and a half, Niwot has attracted 15 new businesses in a four-block area downtown. The business growth downtown is nothing short of amazing, according to David Jackson, a Niwot dentist and president of the Niwot Business Association.

Strolling down Second Avenue toward the Niwot Historic District, Jackson points to his dental office located in a quaint old Victorian home on the west…

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