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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — There have been many changes to the area around Casa Bonita, but the prospects for this side of West Colfax Avenue have businesses feeling good about the future.

“It was different than it is now,” said Anthony Martuscello, owner of Westfax Brewing Company.

Martuscello has owned his brewery for seven years.

“The Colfax atmosphere, the Colfax neighborhood was a little rougher,” Martuscello said.

There was a time when it took some guts to live or even operate a business around here.

“There was a bunch of the people just sleeping in the street and people just bumming around the ground,” Tae Suk Ji, owner of Tea Hee Boba, said.

Ji said he also recalls the bad days in this area.

“I couldn’t even imagine that I could open a tea shop here,” Ji said.

Casa Bonita redevelopment brings optimism

Now there is optimism about a better day just around the bend.

“We’re hoping that with Casa Bonita opening up next door,” Martuscello said, “the addition of some new businesses, we can see it bounce back.”

One of those new businesses is Ji’s tea shop, which opened three weeks ago.

“I feel lucky to take a spot here,” Ji said.

The possibilities for what this part of Colfax could become, Ji said — all thanks to Casa Bonita — are endless.

“This area is more suitable for the family-friendly,” Ji said.

It’s a more wholesome image for an area that’s had a reputation for anything but.

“Colfax is still Colfax,” Martuscello said. “I’d say this little pocket’s starting to change.”

The time to apply for a job at Casa Bonita is running out.

Management for the restaurant said it will begin reaching out to applicants about those jobs starting next week.