Hearing on Development of Development Districts Near Downtown Theme Park to Be Held in August
The Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park redevelopment group in Denver wishes to create six metropolitan districts at the website as part of a planned task that could double the downtown acreage of Colorado’s largest city in the next quarter century.
The addition of the districts around the downtown theme park, one function that sets Denver apart amongst big U.S. cities, will permit the use of common metropolitan redevelopment tools for the project’s financing, building and construction, operation and maintenance.
Revesco Characteristic, which owns Elitch Gardens together with real estate magnate Stan Kroenke, is in the early phases of redeveloping the theme park into a mixed-use district called The River Mile. The development is anticipated to occur throughout more than two decades and might add as much as 4.6 million square feet of office, 1.2 million square feet of hospitality space, 500,000 square feet of retail and 8,000 residential units to the location just northwest of Denver’s central enterprise zone.
In general, metro districts are quasi-governmental unique districts frequently utilized in Colorado for redevelopment tasks. They can offer general commitment bonds secured by real estate tax collected within the district, and use the proceeds from those bonds to fund public improvements.
The districts are normally handled by a board consisted of homeowner’ agents. Development of the districts requires city board permission, and Colorado law needs that a public hearing happen before council can approve permission.
The Denver City Board on Aug. 13 will hold the general public hearing on the creation of the metro districts, which are a “milestone” in the pre-development procedure for The River Mile, according to Sean Duffy of The Kenney Group, which represents Revesco.
Colorado has a range of financing tools that can be used by personal entities for redevelopment purposes, but it’s too soon to tell what type of funding plan, if any, will be requested for The River Mile advancement, Duffy stated. However establishing the metro districts is “crucial” to getting the project done.
“Having metro districts within the project provides a legal and financial basis that helps you progress within the city,” Duffy stated.
Before Elitch Gardens was originally transferred from northwest Denver in 1995, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority licensed a $10.9 million tax-increment funding, or TIF, package to fund necessary environmental remediation for the 62-acre site in the Central Platte Valley that ended up being the theme park’s house and is now targeted to become The River Mile.
The task is still in early stages, with the advancement group working to protect a re-zoning that will allow for increased structure height and density. The Denver City Council last month approved a change to the overall downtown area strategy that will direct the advancement of the Central Platte Valley and Auraria neighborhoods.
Even when all approvals are in location, the phased development will occur gradually, beginning with a 1,400-space parking structure developed on an existing parking area at the park. And, it’s vital to keep in mind, Elitch Gardens isn’t really going anywhere for the foreseeable future.