Land Title Guarantee Co. and NAIOP Colorado (the Commercial Real Estate Development Association) selected the 40.5-acre Denver Shops, located at 5151 Bannock St. in Denver, as the project site for the 17th annual Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge May 2.
The challenge is the premier real estate competition that pairs graduate-level students from the University of Colorado and the University of Denver with industry leaders in the Colorado real estate community to reinvent an existing commercial real estate site.
Located in the Globeville neighborhood, the 40-plus-acre site at The Denver Shops formerly was known as the Colorado Trade Center. The property was acquired by project sponsor Conscience Bay Co. in 2015.
CBC has restored the original name, The Denver Shops, to honor the unique history of the site. In 1922 the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad opened the Locomotive Shops, and for decades the site was referred to as The Denver Shops throughout the community.
“Gov. Hickenlooper, Mayor Hancock and our newly elected Gov. Polis all emphasize thoughtful planning and investment for our city. Considering its phenomenal location with highway access to both I-25 and I-70, this project will be at the top of the priority list for the state and city offices of economic development and for transportation and affordable housing champions,” said Eli Feldman, president of CBC. “We all witnessed the successful, planning and transformative investments in Coors Field and Union Station over the past years. The Denver Shops site presents an opportunity of similar scale and potential.” Feldman added.
In January, student teams will begin a four-month period of working with industry professionals and CBC 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 40.51-acre 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 will culminate with the largest real estate event in Colorado May 2 in which student finalists will present their recommendations to CBC 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 a motivated project sponsor and a stellar location for the challenge. As Denver grows at unprecedented rates, available sites such as this are becoming scarce,” said Stacy Stout, chairman of the NAIOP organizing committee. “To be successful in this year’s competition, students will need to pay attention to the detail and really think big about what possibilities are available for this unique location.”
As a former student participant in the challenge, Ben Woolf, director of commercial investments for CBC, said he is particularly excited about this program’s process. “Knowing firsthand the effort and resources that go into this, we are expecting high quality and creative visions as a result. The outcome of the NAIOP Challenge will help us understand how to position the property to best serve the people of Denver.”