Gateway to DIA: on any given weekday, Landmark Properties President Ray Pittman can be found in his car, racing from one meeting to another and fielding calls on his cell phone. The topic, more often than not, is HighPointe at DIA, a project on 1,800 acres that will boast a conference center/resort hotel, an 18-hole golf course and 2,800 homes on the high plains leading to Denver International Airport.
The pace and frequency of meetings and phone calls have picked up the same way for Julie Bender, president of the DIA Partnership, and for Denver City Councilman Michael Hancock. Each is intimately involved with the growing developments along Pena Boulevard and Tower Road near DIA. Their frenzied schedules are a sign of the quickening pace of growth in this northeast metro Denver area known as The Gateway.
As notable as the development plans is the unprecedented cooperation between government officials in Denver and Aurora to ease the planning process.
The cooperation shows just how important that development is to the region's economic health. "I think it's pretty exciting," said Hancock, the 35-year-old District 11 city councilman. "It's transforming this corridor into the gateway for this whole community."
Indeed, The Gateway is on its way to becoming a neighborhood unto itself, with major residential and commercial projects promising as many as 17,500 new homes and more than 15 million square feet of office, light industrial and retail space over the next decade.
Since the airport opened in 1995, Oakwood Homes, which took over from a previous builder, has built the better part of 6,000 single-family homes in its Green Valley Ranch project and has plans for 4,000 more. A new grocery store and shopping center at Tower Road and 56th Avenue opened late last year, and already the center's parking lot is often filled to capacity.
Perhaps the biggest project in the area, HighPointe at DIA, will add millions of square feet of office and industrial space to the airport district over the next 20 years.
John Huggins, economic development director for the City and County of Denver, said the area has reached a pivotal stage and is finally more than just a wide expanse of dirt with lots of potential. According to the DIA Business Partnership, the area (including the airport) already has 29,000 new jobs as well as 15 hotels with 2,763 rooms that consistently maintain a 63 percent occupancy rate.
"It's a very important asset for us, and in the next decade it will be more important," Huggins said of The Gateway. "We've reached a critical point in the development. With Frontier Airlines headquarters and HighPointe, there is enough there to show a real sense of place. And that sense of place, especially at HighPointe, will be very attractive to someone looking for a signature location."
Landmark Properties, headed by Ray Pittman, is behind the HighPointe at DIA development. Pittman, formerly of Catellus Development, launched Landmark in January with the HighPointe project as its foundation. Pittman said that when it's complete, HighPointe will have a 350-room resort hotel (with a potential to expand to 500 rooms), a conference center, an 18-hole golf course, about 10 million square feet of commercial space and 2,800 new homes in its 1,800-acre stretch of land along Pena Boulevard and E-470. But the most unique feature of this development is its location straddling the border between Denver and Aurora and the level of cooperation both cities are displaying to help Landmark.
Officials from both cities have teamed up to create a development master plan and a single review committee to streamline Pittman's job.
Huggins said that HighPointe is the only development to get this kind of inter-city cooperation and is a reflection of the project's importance for both cities and for the region. "From the developer's point of view, that's extremely valuable," Huggins said of the single review process. "From the standpoint of relations with Aurora, that's a very serious precedent. It really was initiated by (Aurora Mayor) Ed Tauer, who came in when he was still a city council person, right after Hickenlooper was elected. He said, 'I would like to develop a model of cooperation between us and improve our relations.' Of course, the developer was thrilled with that idea."
Pittman said that not having to independently appeal to both cities' planning and zoning rules has saved him millions of dollars in time and effort, while making it easier to attract investors and create a more unified and seamless project. "I'm not sure we'd even have a project if not for this level of cooperation," Pittman said. "I think it's a recognition of how important the northeast market and Gateway are to the economic development of the two cities."
Pittman credited mayors Hickenlooper and Tauer with having an "enlightened" outlook on cooperation between Denver and Aurora. "It's a symbiotic approach and in the past it was an adversarial approach," Pittman said. "It's a much better environment to work in."
Virtually everyone involved with development around the airport is enthusiastic about the prospects for Denver and Aurora. Huggins said that the economic slowdown of the past few years has temporarily stunted The Gateway's growth, but he and others are looking forward to what they see as a turn for the better.
1 HIGHPOINTE AT DIA DEVELOPER LANDMARK PROPERTIES GROUP INC. LOCATION 64TH AND TOWER ROAD, NORTH TO 72ND THEN EAST ALONG PENA TO E-470 PHONE (303) 468-4600 PROJECT TYPE MIXED USE ACRES 1,800 NUMBER OF HOMES 2,800 PRICE RANGE $250,000 TO $400,000 COMMERCIAL 10 MILLION (INCLUDING SQUARE FEET 500,000 RETAIL) GROUND BREAKING APRIL 2005 BUILD OUT 2010 FOR RESIDENTIAL; 2025 FOR COMMERCIAL This project straddles the Denver/Aurora border. Both cities are cooperating to create a single development review process for the developer. It will also include a conference center/resort hotel with 350 to 500 rooms and an 18-hole golf course. 2 GREEN VALLEY RANCH DEVELOPER OAKWOOD HOMES LOCATION 56TH AVENUE & PICCADILLY STREET PHONE (303) 486-8500 PROJECT TYPE RESIDENTIAL, GOLF COURSE, SOME COMMERCIAL ACRES 2,400 NUMBER OF HOMES 10,000 (6,000 BUILT SO FAR) PRICE RANGE $120,000 TO $310,000 COMMERCIAL N/A SQUARE FEET GROUND BREAKING 1991 FOR OAKWOOD; OTHER BUILDERS IN 1983 BUILD OUT 2008 Oakwood Homes took over from a previous builder that started construction in 1983. Oakwood builds all single-family homes, but the previous developer built some apartments. 3 TOWER COMMONS LLC DEVELOPER JOINT VENTURE BETWEEN BROWN AND ASSOCIATES AND C.P. BEDROCK LOCATION 48TH AVENUE AND TOWER ROAD PHONE (303) 938-9946 PROJECT TYPE COMMERCIAL ACRES 18 NUMBER OF HOMES N/A COMMERCIAL 90,000 SQUARE FEET GROUND BREAKING FALL 2004 BUILD OUT JUNE 2005 This retail project will have seven pads available on a lease basis and about 48,000 square feet of in-line spaces. Lease rates are $22 per square foot triple net. 4 DENVER INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CENTER DEVELOPER L.C. FULENWIDER INC. LOCATION WEST SIDE OF TOWER ROAD FROM 72ND AVENUE TO 60TH AVENUE PHONE (303) 917-3419 PROJECT TYPE MIXED USE ACRES 450 (425 REMAIN UNDEVELOPED) NUMBER OF HOMES POTENTIAL FOR 800 MULTI-FAMILY UNITS COMMERCIAL N/A SQUARE FEET GROUND BREAKING 2000 FOR COMMERCIAL; RESIDENTIAL UNDETERMINED BUILD OUT AT LEAST 20 YEARS L.C. Fulenwider is 100 years old this year and has owned land around what is now DIA for 50 years. Originally, Fulenwider's parcel was 40,000 acres, but airport condemnation and other sales have left the company with about 7,500 acres on all four sides of the airport. In addition to the Denver International Business Center, which currently holds the Courtyard by Marriott and the Frontier offices, Fulenwider is developing the International Airport Commerce Center and the Northlands Industrial Park, and it sold the land on which Shea Homes is developing the Reunion residential project. 5 WILDHORSE RIDGE DEVELOPER NORSTAR RESIDENTIAL LLLP/CONCERT AMERICAN HOMES LOCATION 59TH AVENUE AND TOWER ROAD SE CORNER PHONE (720) 931-3526 PROJECT TYPE RESIDENTIAL (CONDOMINIUMS) ACRES 15.5 NUMBER OF HOMES 270 CONDOS PRICE RANGE $130,000S TO $150,000S COMMERCIAL N/A SQUARE FEET GROUND BREAKING MARCH 2004 BUILD OUT 2007 This condominium project features five different floor plans with ranch and two-story products, all with attached garages. Norstar, which has undergone a couple of name changes over the years (it was previously known as Becorp 2700 LLC and Becorp Denver Dry LLC), has built five projects around the Denver area including Rockridge Condos in Aurora, 2700 Cherry Creek Drive South building and the renovated Denver Dry Goods Building. The management team from Norstar has been involved with 16 other projects in the metro area. 6 FIRST CREEK FARM DEVELOPER FRONTIER COMMUNITIES LLC LOCATION 56TH AVENUE AND GIBRALTAR STREET, ONE MILE EAST OF TOWER ROAD PHONE (303) 371-0360 PROJECT TYPE RESIDENTIAL ACRES 24 NUMBER OF HOMES 400 CONDOMINIUMS IN 14 BUILDINGS PRICE RANGES $106,900 TO $152,140 COMMERCIAL N/A SQUARE FEET GROUND BREAKING SUMMER 2002 BUILD OUT SUMMER 2005 The project is about half sold out.
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|Title Annotation:||Developers Converge on Pena Boulevard|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2004|
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