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CDOT, FAA weigh in on Lone Tree's massive RidgeGate development

Posted at 9:45 PM, Mar 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-07 00:44:22-05

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LONE TREE, Colo. — State transportation officials say a massive new development site in Lone Tree predicted to more than double the residential population of the Douglas County town over the next couple of decades shouldn’t have much impact on existing infrastructure. 

A spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation told Denver7 said the large-scale RidgeGate development along I-25 would eventually require improvements and additional roadways, but that will all depend on additional funding — something the agency struggles to secure. 

“CDOT will also continue to look at improvements that could possibly include Express Lanes and technology to make the best use of the current roadway capacity,” a statement read.

The new development site is directly across the interstate from the existing RidgeGate West Village at I-25 and Lincoln Avenue, which is home to the Charles Schwab corporate campus, Lone Tree Arts Center and Sky Ridge Medical Center. The site sits along RTD's under-construction E and F rail line extension.

The council approved sub-area plans for two new sections of the development: Lone Tree City Center and the East Villages.

Plans for the 400-acre Lone Tree City Center call for a walkable and bikeable "urban center" that developers say could eventually support up to 50,000 new jobs.

The 1,800-acre East Villages would be more neighborhood-oriented with lots of park space and the potential for as many as 10,000 homes, including affordable housing options. 

“We and the City of Lone Tree just felt like it was very important to integrate affordable, attainable housing in this community on the east side of I-25. It’s particularly important for the new job creations. These employers need to know there are those types of units available close to where they are creating these jobs,” said Keith Simon, Executive Vice President of Coventry Development Corporation.

The developer also has set aside 145 acres for city buildings and public schools.

When it's finished -- and that likely won't be for a few decades -- the entire RidgeGate development will span more than 3,500 acres on both sides of I-25.

Denver7 heard many viewpoints on this issue.

Developers and realtors, like Susan Krodel with Realty One Group, are excited about how the plans will transform the 2200 acre plot of land.

"I think we are going to see the kind of growth we did in the Highlands where they incorporated art district, walkability to downtown," said Krodel.

RidgeGate East will preserve 1,000-acres for parks and open space and include a possible expansion for CU Denver's Lone Tree campus.

"With DTC right here, I think you're going to get a lot of people that just work in the area and won't go far," he said. 

However, the view from above is a different story. Some pilots aren't thrilled with the idea that thousands of homes will soon be built under runway approaches at Centennial Airport. 

It's one of the busiest general aviation airports in the nation. A crash on takeoff or landing with homes underneath would be catastrophic. That concern is partially why the FAA sent a letter opposing the project. 

Another perspective on the project comes from someone who works and lives in Lone Tree. 

Los Arcos is where locals go, and Chelsea Thaxton tells Denver7 she's noticed more business as more people move to the area. She thinks this development will bring more economic advantage to mom and pop shops.

"More people for this restaurant to come in and I can wait on them," she said

She knows firsthand that the opportunity to live near work is everything.

"I  live four minutes from here, so I love that. I love that aspect of it," said Thaxton. "I don't like to leave town."