Megan Quinn | Broomfield Enterprises

By late 2016, Bay Area commuters will likely begin to see the first of a fleet of futuristic new BART trains barreling from San Francisco through the upper Peninsula, the East Bay and new stations slated to open in the coming years closer to Silicon Valley in Fremont, Milpitas and Northern San Jose.Broomfield might not have a traditional downtown, but it isn’t looking for traditional. Instead leaders wants to turn the city’s existing Civic Center into a downtown-like “gathering space” that would incorporate shops and apartments into a park-like area. Broomfield is seeking a developer for the project, and hopes to receive proposals by Nov. 24.

The plan calls for adding shops, apartments, bike and pedestrian trails to the area surrounding city hall, the library and the auditorium and upgrading Community Park pond, according to the request for proposals. Instead of filling the area with a high-density mix of retail, apartments and restaurants, the Civic Center redevelopment project aims to reflect Broomfield’s sense of community by integrating parks and open space into the plan, said Kevin Standbridge, deputy city and county manager. Broomfield, which started as a small community and grew into a bedroom community, never had a dedicated “downtown” area around which development grew. That’s why the Civic Center project won’t look like the downtown areas of cities such as Fort Collins, Arvada or Lafayette, he said.

“It won’t feel like a traditional downtown, but it will feel like a place people want to go, a place that reflects the community,” he said. The Civic Center area is 61 acres and includes the George Di Ciero City and County Building, the police station, Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library, the Broomfield Auditorium, North Metro Fire Rescue District headquarters, the 9/11 Memorial, the Broomfield Community Center, the ball fields and The Bay Aquatic Park. Read more