City leaders from five South Metro communities gathered at Arapahoe Community College to celebrate accomplishments of 2012 and preview what’s in store for the coming year.
The Feb. 22 panel, hosted by First Bank, served as platform for announcements, as well as good-natured ribbing.
A shared vision for transportation connectivity was a common theme, but the biggest news came in the form of economic development across the community.
“We really do want to have Centennial be one of those places where people want to live, work, play,” said Centennial Mayor Cathy Noon to a crowd of more than 300 entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, local businesses and students. “We were very proud this year that Money magazine again named Centennial as one of the safest cities in America, and that’s quite an accomplishment for a city that didn’t even exist 12 years ago.”
Noon also announced that Jones International Ltd. has submitted a zoning request to build more than 1.8 million square feet office and retail space on 42 acres of vacant land north of Ikea.
“We are currently dealing with an inflow of great opportunities for infill development,” said Littleton Mayor Debbie Brinkman.
In addition to the city’s approval for a 72-unit luxury apartment building downtown, Brinkman noted multiple expansions, including a $10 million project by Mercedes Benz and Health South’s 49,000-square-foot in-patient hospital.
“The fun news is that Breckenridge Brewery has applied to rezone to move their brewery and expand to about three times the size they currently are,” she said, “and that’s about a $20 million project.”
Restaurant Solutions Inc. has purchased a 65,000-square-foot vacant building on Mineral Road and plans to bring 90 jobs to the Littleton area in May.
Lone Tree Mayor Jim Gunning said his 2013 priority was maintaining property value.
‘Those of you who have been watching Lone Tree know it is a small city, but in terms of economic development, it’s very robust,” he said.
Among Gunning’s announcements were a $107 million expansion by Sky Ridge Medical Center, a new Embassy Suites near I-25 and Lincoln Ave., a headquarters expansion by Time Warner Telecom, and the official opening of Cabela’s on Aug. 15.
“In 2012, our city council established economic development as one of our main goals,” said Englewood Mayor Randy Penn.
Penn said in 2008, the city had $12 million in permits; in 2011, $22 million in permits and in 2012, $49 million in permits.
“The great thing is 2013 is starting off with a little over $250 million in permits,” said Penn.
Penn said he is also working to find space and funding for a “huge convention center” in the City of Englewood.
Allen Dreher, treasurer of the Highlands Ranch Metro District, said with the completion of the Highlands Ranch Mansion project now in the rearview mirror, the community will create an accompanying historic park located on the west side of the building. The land for the park is expected to be conveyed to the district in 2020.
“We have no Cabela’s, no Ikea, we just have a lovely place to live,” joked Dreher.