Clark's Cone of Silence

A unique look at economic development in the region

Top Five Largest Real Estate Projects in Metro Denver

As you're looking out your office building, you're probably wondering about all of the construction cranes in operation throughout the region. While it's often hard to get excited about the construction zones around town, we thought we'd share with you why we are thrilled for these projects and what they'll bring for the future of the Metro Denver area.

Nationally, the construction sector had continued to lag and Colorado's construction workforce alone dropped from 169,500 jobs to 104,000 between 2011 and 2012, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. However, Metro Denver led the nation last year in new construction jobs with 6,300 new construction jobs, thanks to several big projects working full steam ahead. The construction sector has also led the charge in Colorado's employment of 2.4 million in June, the fourth-fastest job growth in the nation.

Here are five of the largest real estate projects currently underway in Metro Denver:

  1. Denver International Airport's (DIA) South Terminal Redevelopment Program:
    •  The airport project is creating nearly 1,000 jobs, including up to 700 construction and design jobs and more than 200 permanent hotel jobs.
    • Slated for completion in 2015, the project includes a 519-room Westin Hotel and Conference Center that will feature a full-service restaurant, full gym, and an indoor pool in the saddle of the upper level of the hotel. A public transit center will be home to the aviation commuter rail station, connecting DIA to Denver Union Station downtown.
    • The project is expected to generate $2 million annually to the City and County of Denver and up to $5 million for the airport.
  2. Denver Union Station:
    • As the intermodal hub for the Metro Denver region, historic Union Station will integrate the Regional Transportation District's (RTD) light rail and commuter rail lines, Amtrak rail service, regional buses, taxis, shuttles, and bicycle and pedestrian access, where more than 100,000 people are expected to pass each day once complete.
    • The nearly $500 million project includes an eight-track, at-grade commuter rail station and an 1,100-foot-long underground bus depot with 22 bays - more than double the capacity of Market Street Station that is currently RTD's hub for buses. Light rail from all parts of the region will converge at Union Station.
    • The project will also draw new retail, office, and residential development to the neighborhood. Kidney-dialysis giant DaVita has already established a new headquarters in the neighborhood, and construction is under way for new buildings for IMA Financial Group and Antero Resources. One of the biggest projects is Holland Partners Group's 21-story apartment building at 1650 Wewatta St. The 272-unit project overlooking the Union Station train platform also will include 7,000 square feet of retail space.
    • RTD is also adding a downtown circulator bus to complement its 16th Street Mall shuttle. Like the Mall shuttle, the service will be free. The circulator will run along 18th and 19th streets between Union Station and Civic Center. RTD is looking for funding to extend the service to the Denver Art Museum.
  3. Fitzsimons Village Anschutz Medical Campus:
    • Corporex, a commercial real estate developer, is developing Fitzsimons Village across from the Anschutz Campus. The 32-acre site connects to the medical campus via an elevated pedestrian walkway across Colfax Avenue.
    • The completed Fitzsimons 100 building includes 151,700 square feet of office space, 16,000 square feet of retail and a 715-vehicle parking structure across from Children's Hospital.
    • The first phase of Fitzsimons Village also included a 153-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott, the only nationally branded hotel within six miles of the campus, and a regional bank branch for FirstBank.
    • The six-story Fitzsimons 200 building will include 196,000 square feet of office space and 12,000 square feet of retail. A 250- to 300-room full-service hotel and conference center also is planned for the site.
  4. Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority's University Bioscience Park:
    • In addition to our number three project, The Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority (FRA) is constructing an additional building in The University of Colorado - Denver's Bioscience Park Center.
    • The University plans to start an undergraduate bioengineering program this fall, where students will attend classes at its downtown campus for their first two years. The second half of the program will be held in the new building at the 184-acre Bioscience Park, five minutes from Forest City's 4,700-acre Stapleton master-planned community and 15 minutes from Denver International Airport.
    • The University's planned building will be the third in the Bioscience Park. Last year, the FRA completed an $8 million Accelerator building, which was 80 percent occupied when it opened. The 37,000-square-foot gives the FRA about 50 percent more space for companies now in its incubator building to expand.
  5. RidgeGate:
    • Charles Schwab consolidated its 2,000 Denver-area employees into a $230 million campus at RidgeGate in Lone Tree. RidgeGate will house the 930,000-square-foot campus, which will include both structured and surface parking, as well as an outdoor amphitheater.
    • About 2,000 people currently live at RidgeGate, which also boasts a workforce of 2,000. The entire development is expected to double the size of Lone Tree, which annexed the property in 2000.
    • Apartment and hotel developers also have increased activity at RidgeGate, with Corporex completing a 106-room Hampton Inn and poised to start construction of a 174-room Embassy Suites.

We highly anticipate the completion of all of these projects and many more, not only for own our enjoyment and use, but because their outcomes will reinforce why Metro Denver is gaining a well-respected reputation across the country for its investment in cutting-edge transportation and real estate infrastructure.

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About Tom Clark

Tom has over 30 years of economic development experience at the state, regional, and local levels, spanning from Illinois to Colorado. He is known both for his quips and his candor. Often quoted in the local and national press on Metro Denver’s economy, his iPhone is his most valued possession next to his Les Paul guitar. He is also famous for writing parody songs, maintaining an orderly office, and funding the office swear jar. Tom says that if wasn’t an economic developer, his dream would be to work in a chocolate factory.

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About The Cone of Silence

Invented by Professor Cone from TV’s "Get Smart," the Cone of Silence was designed to protect the most secret of conversations by enshrouding its users within a transparent sound-proof shield. Unfortunately, from experience, we have also learned that it never works properly. This blog offers those outside our “Cone of Silence” a unique look at economic development in the region.

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