Westwood: One of Denvers most diverse, walkable neighborhoods

As one of Denver’s most diverse, youthful, and walkable neighborhoods, Westwood increasingly draws urban homebuyers from out-of-state.

With an average home price of $336,000, which sits well below Denver’s median home price of $600,000, the neighborhood also appeals to investors.

But all that attention creates worry that rising prices will push longtime neighborhood residents out of the area.

“There are always concerns about gentrification when you see shifting price points that make housing prices less favorable for people making certain annual incomes,” says Maria Irivarren, 8z real estate agent.

Making a major investment

After Denver voters approved a $937 million bond package, work began on a multimillion-dollar transformation of Morrison Road. The 1.5-mile stretch serves runs diagonally through the largely working-class, Spanish-speaking neighborhood and serves as its main street.

BuCu West (Bu for Business, Cu for Culture) started in 1987 as a business owner association and now works to promote and support entrepreneurs, small businesses, cultural organizations, and neighborhood residents in the Westwood Creative District. For example, BuCu West operates WestwoodFood.com, a website dedicated to promoting the “best Latin and Mexican cuisine in Denver.”

Restaurants featured include:

Cultura Craft Chocolate: A Latina-owned bean-to-bar chocolate-making company.

Kahlo’s: A Mexican restaurant with both a traditional menu and a vegan menu.

Panaderia Contreras: A Mexican bakery and full-service market.

The Morrison Road improvements help make Westwood one of the city’s most walkable neighborhoods and help Morrison Road showcase a variety of local vendors, restaurants, and shops, Irivarren says.

Re:Vision, which works to cultivate thriving communities, helped a group of residents create the Westwood Food Cooperative, a member-owned and operated grocery, in 2014. The food cooperative supplies the neighborhood with affordable fresh and healthy food.

What’s available?

While many Westwood residents are renters, there are houses for sale ranging in price from $250,000 to more than $600,000, Irivarren says.

The homes priced under $250,000 are tiny and need a lot of work. Often buyers purchase those properties to scrape the land and redevelop.

Houses with1,200 to 1,500 square feet sell for $400,000, while homes with 2,500 square feet typically sell for closer to $600,000.

Because the neighborhood is zoned to allow accessory dwelling units, some homeowners convert the garage into a mother-in-law apartment, providing more space for multi-generational living or an opportunity to leverage the property and make income, Irivarren says.

Who’s moving in?

While longtime neighborhood residents want to stay and move up to larger homes, Westwood appeals to young people, young families investors, and new buyers who are relocating from New York and California.

“The neighborhood definitely offers more urban living,” Irivarren says.

 

The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.

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