FEATURE ARTICLE, FEBRUARY 2006
Station Identification in Denver
Continuum Partners' transit-oriented development, Belleview Station, will be big in size and convenience.
The right tenant mix, beautiful construction and a wide assortment of amenities are all vital factors in creating a successful development. However, none of this matters if the development is in the wrong location. In Denver, the right location is next to a light-rail stop, which provides convenience for the development's residents, workers and visitors. Once completed, Belleview Station will be heralded as one of the premier transit-oriented communities in the Mile High City.
The 5 million-square-foot mixed-use development will surround the Belleview Station light-rail stop, which is scheduled to open in fourth quarter 2006. Located at the northwest corner of Interstate 25 and Belleview Avenue, the property will include 1,900 residential units, 2 million square feet of office space and 160,000 square feet of retail when completed. Plans for the site may also include a full-service, four- or five-star hotel and a comprehensive parking program for Belleview Station.
Denver-based developer, Continuum Partners, is no stranger to large, mixed-use projects; its $750 million Belmar development in Lakewood, Colorado, opened last year. According to Roger Pecsok, project development director for Continuum, the company's other projects have been very pedestrian-oriented, with all the different uses feeding off each other. However, this project has a lot more depth to it than the company's other projects.
The removal of the pedestrian-oriented streets throughout the project has increased the density. “The overall development represents about 5 million square feet on less than 50 acres of land; it's even less than that when you take away the public right of way,” says Pecsok. In comparison, Belmar was developed on 103 acres.
The 18 acres in the heart of the property alone include 2.3 million square feet of retail, office, hotel and residential spaces.
About a year ago, Contiuum began discussions with the landowners, the Bansbach and Warren families, who have owned the property for more than 100 years. With that kind of legacy, it was important for the families to place something substantial and inherently valuable on the property, according to Pecsok.
Difficulties arose when the two parties tried to reach an agreement on what would work well with the property and the location. “They had a complex set of goals for their disposition of the property and we had certain criteria for our developments,” says Pecsok. “It was difficult, but I think that's also why we are fortunate that the landowner selected us.”
Once Continuum and the landowners drew up the initial plan for Belleview Station, work could begin on the master plan of the project. The landowner has been working with Denver-based Civitas Inc. on the land planning, entitlements and the initial master-planning efforts, and Continuum has been interviewing design firms to develop the first phase of design services, which includes master-planning and the Phase I building design, says Pecsok.
Site work activities for Phase I will begin in the late spring and early summer, with a large amount of site construction starting at this time. “[In the] first phase we will do a mix of uses that will start at the Belleview side of the project, with a substantial amount of regional retail, office space and single-unit housing [and] a structure parking system to support this project,” says Pecsok.
Continuum was drawn to the development for several reasons. One was that it is the largest single ownership parcel of land on any of the light-rail stops on the southeast corridor. Another reason is it's already in a good location in the city of Denver.
Belleview Station will sit in the heart of the Denver Tech Center in the middle of a very well established and old neighborhood in Denver. The community is well supportive of the project, which is another huge draw for Continuum.
“It is adjacent to the established neighborhood retail and being on a transit stop, it really speaks for itself,” says Pecsok. “It's got everything going for it.”
Continuum has high expectations for the project. With its premier location, wide variety of uses and pedestrian-friendly environment, Belleview Station is sure to become a favorite destination for residents, workers and visitors alike.
— Brianne Gloski
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