SouthPark catches a tax break

By Jennifer Smith

Most places don't want to go out of business, but the SouthPark Metropolitan District couldn't be happier.

"We are happy to say that without help from any other entities, we have paid off our obligations in full as the 30-year plan was designed," reports Pat Dunahay, president of the district. "This will be a reduction of property taxes to all the commercial property owners that reside in SouthPark."

The district paid off its debt on Dec. 1, and the Arapahoe County Court granted the order to dissolve on Dec. 20. It was created in 1983, after the city of Littleton's 1981 comprehensive plan directed that the area — bounded generally by County Line Road, Mineral Avenue, Broadway and Santa Fe Drive — evolve as a regional employment center.

The plan has come to fruition with many medical-related companies setting up shop to support Littleton Adventist Hospital, lots of technology businesses, Mission Hills Church, Ice Ranch skating rink and more. It consists of 498 acres, of which 176 are residential and 322 are mixed-use business park.

Dunahay said the district collected about $350,000 in property taxes last year. The rate was 35 mills at its highest, falling to just 6 mills last year. Property owners in the district will no longer have to pay that tax, which was implemented so the new growth would pay for itself.

"This will help keep the park competitive," said Dunahay. "It's always been a goal of ours to be about $2 a foot cheaper than our nearby competition. I really believe we are there now."

The SouthPark Owners Association, an all-volunteer board supported by member dues, will continue to manage the district. It plans upward of $30,000 in landscape improvements early this year.

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