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Aerotropolis Kicks Off With Parking Lot


A massive mixed-use project next to the Denver International Airport is getting under way, thanks to a parking lot.

We chatted up Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's land guys Wade Fletcher and Steve Roesinger about their recent deal that paves the way for Aerotropolis to finally see the light of day. Steve and Wade sold a 55-acre parcel for $10M to ParkDIA (subsidiary of Forum Real Estate Group), which will develop a 7,500 parking operation feeding into the airport. What the deal does, the guys say, is help kick off the 1,300-acre Porteos mixed-use project. (All good things start with parking. Otherwise you're jumping out of the car while it's still moving.)

This parcel will be the closest private development to the airport's main terminal--just two miles away. "The interest has always been there. But no one was really willing to pull the trigger because they couldn't get the access," Wade says. By next year, Jackson Gap St will be extended from Pena Boulvard through the property and connecting to E. 56th Ave. And with 30,000 employees at DIA, Steve says there's built-in demand for retail and hospitality at the project.

Steve and Wade say land investment has picked up in Denver. And with it, pricing. For instance, in 2006 the duo sold a site near Union Station for $60/SF. They just sold that same parcel again to PM Realty Group to make way for an apartment tower for $200/SF (see our story here). And most recently, they sold a 77-acre parcel in Littleton that will see 388 single-family homes and 512 apartment units and up to 250k SF of retail. "Almost every market is cyclical, and our market sure is. But it's heading in the right direction now," Steve says.