Schwab breaks ground in Lone Tree

Founder says campus will boost company

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Charles Schwab credits the success of his Fortune 500 company to the quality of his employees. Their well-being is a driving force toward construction of the $230 million Lone Tree corporate campus that officially broke ground May 10.

“Our company really is nothing without really happy employees,” Schwab said in a brief speech at the Lone Tree Arts Center. “Denver is such a fantastic environment to live (and) provides the well-educated employees we love to attract to our company. By being here, this will give us a better edge.”

The 75-year-old Schwab started the San Francisco-based company 40 years ago with four employees. It now employs nearly 15,000 people and serves 8.2-million client brokerage accounts.

Off-stage, Schwab didn’t rule out the prospect of someday making Lone Tree its global headquarters.

“As we get this campus developed, we will consider all options,” he said.

Schwab spoke from the arts center’s stage along with Gov. John Hickenlooper, Douglas County Commissioner Jill Repella, Lone Tree Mayor Jim Gunning and Schwab Senior Vice President Brian McDonald.

The Charles Schwab Corporation’s 2,200 metro-area employees, now spread among three sites, will move into their new home in late 2014.

Schwab credited Lone Tree for its part in bringing the project to life.

“I just want to thank all the people who with Godspeed put this whole thing together,” he said. “You did an incredible yeoman’s job to make this all happen.”

McDonald said Schwab plans to become part of Lone Tree, and already is pondering a relationship with the Lone Tree Arts Center for potential use of the company’s on-campus amphitheater.

“We feel like we’re moving out of a business complex and into a community,” McDonald said. “We’re committed to being a great neighbor.”

Hickenlooper said Schwab is a natural fit for Colorado. “I love to hear Charles Schwab say ‘campus’ because the one thing campus says to me is expansion,” he said. “I can’t imagine a better company that ties in with our identity and what we’re trying to be.”

The state gave Schwab a financial nudge in its decision to build the campus. In exchange for the creation of 480 new jobs in the next five years, Schwab will receive tax credits from Colorado’s Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit.

Those jobs will have a “$500-million-a-year direct and indirect economic impact,” Repella said. “Those are the numbers that help residents prosper.”

The featured speakers and dozens of invited guests then converged outside the arts center for a ceremonial groundbreaking. Sunshine glinting off the silver tips of their shovels, Hickenlooper, Repella, Gunning and seven other officials joined Schwab in lifting  scoops of rain-soaked dirt.

Construction on the first phase of the two-part, 52-acre project at Lincoln Avenue and Park Meadows Boulevard already is under way. It includes two five-story office buildings, a parking garage, amphitheater and retail branch building. A third five-story office building and second parking garage are planned for the later phase.

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