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DEN site selected for Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge

Land Title Guarantee Co. and NAIOP Colorado, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, selected a portion of a 60-acre parcel owned by Denver International Airport at East 61st Avenue and Peña Boulevard in Denver as the subject for the 18th annual Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge to be held Tuesday, April 28.

The challenge is the premier real estate competition that pairs graduate-level students from the University of Colorado and University of Denver with industry leaders in the Colorado real estate community to evaluate development opportunities. The focus of the 2020 competition is a project site that is part of the city of Denver’s overall vision to transform some of the thousands of blank acres around the airport, or DEN, into a multidistrict commercial zone.

This year’s site is adjacent to and immediately east of the Regional Transportation District’s 61st and Peña Station. DEN Real Estate, the division overseeing all airport real estate development, is working in collaboration with stakeholders and is the steward of the 16,000 acres of airport land that will soon become a series of linked districts known as Denver’s Global Gateway. Each commercial district has been designed with a unique character and relationship to its surroundings, featuring urban amenities, a connection to nature, and a commitment to renewable energy and sustainability.

“Mayor Michael Hancock has worked hand in hand with DEN on the idea of Denver’s Global Gateway, a development surrounding our airport,” said Darryl Jones, DEN chief real estate officer. “DEN has completed a strategic development plan for this area that is comprised of a series of commercial districts that appeal to various industry sectors and business categories. The strategic development plan highlights the panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains as well as built attributes that will foster the next generation of transit-oriented development and smart cities growth strategies.” Jones added.

Student teams this month will begin a four-month period of working with industry professionals and DEN to analyze every aspect of the site. The student teams are tasked with presenting a feasible, integrated development plan that promotes the best and most sustainable use of the site while addressing the many challenges associated with commercial real estate development. The student teams compete against one another for scholarships and the NAIOP Cup, which is awarded to the winning school each year.

‘The challenge culminates with the largest real estate event in Colorado, where student finalists present their recommendations to DEN and an audience of more than 750 real estate professionals. Tickets for the event at the Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center will go on sale in early February via NAIOP.

“We are thrilled to have the city of Denver and this exciting area engaged with the challenge,” said Brian Cohen, chairman of the NAIOP organizing committee. “DEN’s guiding principles that integrate activity nodes, added mobility axis, visibility along Peña Boulevard and open space are important aspects of development to push these students to think about the future of successful development. DEN is looking to redefine the idea of an airport and we look forward to having our student competitors engaged in this innovative thinking.”

Featured in CREJ’s Jan. 15-Feb. 4, 2020, issue

Edited by the Colorado Real Estate Journal staff.