Casa Bonita center launches farmers market

A new brewery is moving into the Casa Bonita shopping center. Photos by Burl Rolett.

The Casa Bonita-anchored shopping center is filling up retail space and is launching a farmers market. Photos by Burl Rolett.

With 25,000 square feet of new leases in hand since last fall, Casa Bonita’s new owner wants to fill the parking lot.

Broad Street Realty will host the first of a once-weekly farmers market Wednesday night at Casa Bonita-anchored shopping center Lamar Station Plaza. It’s a plan to get more potential shoppers out to the Lakewood strip center a year after Broad Street bought the complex.

“We want to turn the center around and make it a cool place for the community to gather,” said Melissa Nochlin, a Broad Street broker. “We thought a farmers market would be a good idea because there isn’t one close by.”

JCRS Lamar Station Plaza

Broad Street Realty bought the shopping center – formally called JCRS – about a year ago.

Miller Farms will be the sole vendor at the inaugural Lamar Station farmers market scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. But Nochlin wants to add vendors quickly, and Broad Street is currently looking for an outside company to manage the market.

Broad Street will let vendors set up shop for free for the first two events and plans to charge 10 percent of gross sales at each market after that.

For now Lamar Station will host a farmers market each Wednesday afternoon through the summer. Nochlin said she hopes to build up enough vendors and guests to make it a year-round, indoor and outdoor event by the end of summer 2016.

“Our goal is to hopefully have 10 vendors in the next month or so hop on board and really make this a cool project,” she said. “I think the sky is sort of the limit as far as long term, maybe it’s a rotating set of vendors where every Tuesday is X, Y and Z and every Thursday is another group.”

Lamar Station Plaza, formerly known as the JCRS Shopping Center, totals about 200,000 square feet of retail space. Broad Street bought the center in April 2014 for $8.25 million, Jefferson County records show.

Since then the company extended the lease with Casa Bonita and added a Planet Fitness, the forthcoming WestFax Brewing Co. and offices for the Lakewood Arts Council and 40 West Arts.

Nochlin said the center is seeking fast-casual eateries and a coffeehouse. And she said her firm is hungry for a larger, marquee-type restaurant at a former Hollywood Video corner parcel. Per-square-foot lease rates are in the mid to upper teens, she said.

Broad Street Realty hopes to eventually have the farmers market running the same hours as Lamar Station’s brick-and-mortar tenants, but Nochlin said they’ll need to add more food and craft vendors to the roster in order to make it happen.

“We’d love to have it every day open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., but probably in the first iterations, that won’t be feasible given the amount of people we’d need on board and the sheer ability to have fresh produce year-round,” Nochlin said.

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