“Welton Street Café is an east Denver community institution.
Occupying a corner spot in Five Points Plaza — about a block from the neighborhood’s namesake intersection, just off a light-rail stop — the diner has been serving wings and Southern-style and Caribbean fare since 1999.
Owner/founder Flynn Dickerson, who runs the place with his children, said the recent wave of growth and development that has swept over Five Points has boosted traffic at his restaurant, but also created uncertainty, particularly since a new owner and property management group took over the plaza three years ago.
“I want to say, in a good way, it has helped. It’s helped somewhat,” Dickerson said of the boom in a neighborhood declared blighted five years ago. “As far as rent, we face a scary situation. They just arbitrarily give us rent based on how they feel. They say we have a lease. We’ve asked for a lease, but they don’t give us one. These guys are like super predators. They don’t care. They don’t care one bit.”
There is word for the force Dickerson and many others are contending with in Five Points: gentrification.
That process, whereby an influx of new, more affluent residents in an area sparks new development and investment, often costing out the poorer residents who were there before, is occurring in cities across the country as a generation of young professionals flock to now-thriving urban areas their parents abandoned in the last century.
It’s nothing new in Five Points. The 80205 ZIP code, which includes eastern Five Points and Denver’s City Park, City Park West, Whittier, Cole, Skyland and Clayton neighborhoods, was deemed one of the fastest-gentrifying areas in the country between 2000 and 2010 in a study shared by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute that highlighted a 27 percent jump in the white population. “
Rubino, Joe. Denver Post 15 December 2017.