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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.

And that's just one project.

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.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

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.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

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.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"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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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Developers Converge on Pena Boulevard
Author:Titus, Stephen
Publication:ColoradoBiz
Article Type:Directory
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Words:1451
Previous Article:Financing.
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