E-470 corridor poised for development boom

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The E-470 corridor in Parker is poised for a development boom.

Projects that have remained dormant since the housing market crash are getting a fresh look, signaling renewed confidence in the development community. Several land use applications were received by the Town of Parker from July 1 to Sept. 30, and many of them could fill vacant properties along the E-470 tollway.

Community development director John Fussa said the applications will turn into “tangible construction activity in the next year, year and a half.”

“Parker is squarely in the path of growth and it certainly is occurring, and we see it accelerating,” he said.

The vast Compark area will experience an increase in residential homebuilding and commercial activity. Applicants for Compark Village South have a pending request to change 150 acres of land north and northeast of E-470 and Cottonwood Drive from agricultural zoning to planned development. The developers want to build up to 312 units, including multifamily, single family and neighborhood commercial land uses.

Last June, the town approved the Compark Village Filing No. 5 final plat for 45 single-family lots on 17 acres on the northeast corner of Chambers Road and Compark Boulevard.

The Chambers Highpoint project on the southwest corner of E-470 and Chambers Road will have “highway commercial, multi-family, commercial and open space land uses” on 44 acres if approved. Also under review is The Lighthouse at Crown Point, a 22-acre multifamily housing project near Parker Adventist Hospital, and Cottonwood Highlands, 105 single-family detached lots proposed west of Jordan Road and north of E-470.

Many other projects, like Vantage Point, a 900-unit apartment complex with light retail, have already received the green light.

John Hall, economic development director for the Town of Parker, said a combination of factors is driving the recent flurry of proposals. The general improvement in the economy, solid infrastructure and continued growth have piqued the interest of developers, some of whom once thought Parker was too far removed from the metro area, Hall said.

“Location is key and E-470 provides that for both residential and commercial activity,” he said.

Michael Vickers, the applicant listed on some of the Compark filings, did not respond to an interview request.

Many of the recent applications ask permission to build homes and apartments, largely because the commercial market is still struggling. The fact that E-470 is a tollway could also pose challenges for businesses whose customers don’t want to pay to shop.

Although the town is attempting to “create an employment corridor,” office developers are even tougher to attract to E-470 because there are significant vacancies in the Denver Technological Center, Hall said. However, one developer approached Douglas County officials in late summer to request an economic incentive package to build a 90,000 square-foot building valued at $8.5 million. The request was later withdrawn.

Hall is confident that E-470, which has been designated by the Town of Parker as the corridor for the largest developments, will find its niche in the marketplace.

“We need to be realistic about the types and sizes that are appropriate for Parker. A few hundred thousand square feet and a few stories will be our largest,” Hall said. He added: “We’ll never ignore the opportunity to hit a homerun, but it will be a series of singles more likely.”

The Town of Parker and Douglas County have long talked about creating a “medical mile” along E-470 made up of medical device manufacturers and doctors’ offices to go along with existing facilities like Parker Adventist Hospital and Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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