Eastbridge Neighborhood Undergoes Image Change

The Eastbridge name designating the far-east Stapleton neighborhood will soon be dropped in favor of “EaWe”, announced Mindy Schmidt, assistant marketing director for Forest City. EaWe is an acronym for “east of Westerly Creek,” explained Schmidt.

“Trendy neighborhoods often have a catchy name or acronym. This will help jumpstart our marketing efforts to attract the kind of cutting edge retailers our residents want,” said Schmidt, referring to the proposed town center shopping and entertainment district at Havana Street and MLK Boulevard. Targeted retailers for the town center are Trader Joes, Ikea, and Dollar General, said Schmidt, based on resident surveys.

The name change started with a series of focus groups last fall. The name Eastbridge was viewed as too intimidating and “stuffy”, said Schmidt, particularly by people in lower socioeconomic groups that will likely reside in the apartments, income-qualified housing, and emergency shelter being constructed in the area.  “EaWe is a very inclusive and welcoming neighborhood name,” she said, referring to their focus group research.
“Of course, LoDo is the gold standard of neighborhood acronyms,” said Schmidt, but she noted also that more recent names such as SoCo (south of Colfax) and LoHi (lower Highlands) have helped to foster development for those areas.

“Lower Highlands suffered from a lack of identity for years,” said Schmidt. “As soon as they started going by LoHi, the neighborhood became one of the hottest in Denver. LoHi even got written up in Sunset Magazine. What LoHi did for lower Highlands, we think the name EaWe will do for us here in east Stapleton.”

Other acronyms considered were SoCoJa for “south of county jail,” WeHav for “west of Havana”, AsRemA for “asbestos remediation area” and NoNo for “north of north Aurora.” The Carwash was also considered, similar to how the neighborhood around Coors Field is referred to as The Ballpark, Schmidt said.  However, “Carwash District” did not make it out of the first round of voting.

An informal survey of Stapleton residents showed mixed reactions to dropping the Eastbridge name in favor of EaWe. Andy Fecht, who lives on Beeler Street just west of Westerly Creek, was particularly concerned. “If we live west of Westerly Creek, does that mean they are going to start calling our neighborhood WeWe?”

Once the re-branding of EaWe is complete, attention will be focused on the Southend name which designates the neighborhood bordering Montview Blvd. Schmidt noted that commercial leasing agents have long since played off the Southend name, referring to the area as the “Deadend”. This is due to the extensive number of business closures and vacancies in the area. Two coffee shops, a Vietnamese restaurant and a real estate office have closed over the past few years.  “A new name for the south side might give us the same fresh start we’re going to get with EaWe,” said Schmidt.

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