COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — There's been a lot of talk throughout the years about what should become of Victory Crossing, a strip of land near Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Despite many promises, the property remains empty, except for the prairie dogs roaming about.
Though the property’s future remains uncertain, some are hopeful that local college students could provide an answer.
NAIOP Colorado, a professional real estate development association, holds an annual competition featuring graduate-level students in real estate programs at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Denver. The competition is known as the Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge.
Students are tasked with developing comprehensive designs for a property of interest, working in small teams to develop concepts for the site. The best teams from each school then go head-to-head in a final competition, where they will present their proposals to industry experts. A panel of judges decides which proposal is best for the site.
Alan Colussy, the site selection committee chair, said it can take a year to find the perfect site for students to focus on in the competition.
"We try to locate potential sites that we feel are really appropriate,” said Colussy.
This year, the committee is considering Victory Crossing as the site for students to focus on.
"There's a huge community benefit for someone like a Commerce City or another municipality… to really be able to see what these visions could be, and what to make of the property rather than just another deal,” said Colussy.
Students benefit from the experience, while communities and property owners benefit from the designs students come up with.
"The cool thing about this is that over the past 20 years, that we've seen aspects of some of the student concepts be implemented in the individual properties themselves, which is very gratifying,” said Colussy.
Commerce City City Council is considering co-sponsoring the competition, along with Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE), which owns the property. The city would provide $25,000 for the competition and KSE would provide $25,000, according to city documents.
In May, KSE presented a new idea to the city council for a town center, complete with stores, restaurants, apartments and a medical campus. The proposal would have involved a three-way land swap.
But city leaders were soured on the idea almost immediately, citing many unfulfilled promises KSE has made before.
“You’ve had the opportunity,” Commerce City Mayor Benjamin Huseman said to a KSE executive who presented the proposal. “You could have shown good faith to everyone involved that this is something your organization is committed to do, but nothing has happened. So how can you stand there and convince the nine of us that this time is different?”
Commerce City officials were not available for interviews Monday and a message for comment from KSE went unreturned.