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Next step in Denver's Ball Arena redevelopment project could come this summer

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Posted at 6:10 PM, Jun 12, 2023

DENVER — Assuming the Nuggets seal their championship in Game 5 of the NBA Finals tonight, fans will be dispersing throughout downtown Denver to celebrate the team’s first championship victory. But the hope is that Nuggets wins can be celebrated a lot closer to Ball Arena in the future.

The 15,000-resident River Mile project, which will be built on the site of Elitch Gardens, has been in the works for years, but still has no solid start date set. However, developers have confirmed an important next step that could come this summer.

Among the many hopes for the redevelopment is that it can encourage more people to live, shop, and eat in the area. Currently, a mass exodus following games and concerts can lead to heavy traffic congestion and backups along Speer Blvd.

“I think that can become the epicenter, if you will, of celebrations,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “It certainly will give a picturesque and very enjoyable space for people to have a good time.”

Sprouting up from the land currently occupied by Elitch Gardens, the River Mile will bring a mix of residential buildings, stores, dining, and open space. It will also bring a new transit plaza that will have light rail connections to spots throughout Denver and to DIA, connected to Ball Arena by a bridge for Nuggets and Avalanche fans.

Next step in Denver's River Mile near Ball Arena could come this summer

“The River Mile is huge for us,” Mayor Hancock said. “We’re very excited about going forward. Denver’s future is very bright, across all of the professional teams in our city.”

The big question many are asking is when we will see this development come to fruition. Denver7 reached out to Elitch Gardens to see if a final closure date for the park has been set, but was told it is not going “anywhere anytime soon.”

“The park will be in its current location for the foreseeable future,” said Cindy Hall, Director of Marketing at Elitch Gardens. “Park management has no details regarding potential new locations.”

Sean Duffy, a representative for developer Revesco Properties, said an overall timeline for the project completion is about 20 years, depending on the market and economic conditions. The next step in the process is the filing of a rezoning application with the city of Denver’s Community Planning and Development department, which Duffy said could happen this summer.

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