Land Sale Near DIA to Catalyze Porteos Development

November 21, 2013

From The Denver Post
By Steven Raabe

A $9.6 million land sale near Denver International Airport could help kick-start a big development project just south of DIA.

Phoenix-based A&C Properties said the transaction is the first step in what is designed to be the closest major commercial center to the airport.

Named Porteos, the project proposes to transform 1,287 acres of wheat fields into a mix of hotels, shops, restaurants, offices and warehouses.

Brokers for A&C Properties announced this week that Denver-based Forum Real Estate Group purchased 55 acres of Porteos land to develop a 7,500-space parking complex.

The key to the deal is building an extension of Jackson Gap Road — which now carries DIA travelers from Peña Boulevard toward the Mount Elbert parking lot — through to East 56th Avenue.

The extended roadway will provide access to DIA and Porteos from the east and south.

The Porteos site is about 2.5 miles south of the DIA terminal. That gives it a competitive advantage to the commercial district along Tower Road, 7 miles southwest of the airport, said Bill Wichterman, vice president and general counsel of A&C Properties.

"The critical piece is access," he said. "It doesn't do you a whole lot of good to be close to the airport if you don't have access. But extending the road provides the access."

Wichterman said proceeds from the land sale to Forum Real Estate Group will be used to build the road extension and develop other infrastructure, including water and power. Construction is expected to begin in February.

"It's a kickoff for the whole project," said Wade Fletcher of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who brokered the sale with NGKF senior managing director Steve Roesinger.

Fletcher said he sees a comparison to Las Colinas, an Irving, Texas, development that has grown because of its proximity to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Denver and Adams County have been sparring over a land-use agreement that governs development of the "aerotropolis" around DIA. Wichterman declined to comment on the issue.

Wendy Mitchell, chief executive of the Aurora Economic Development Council, said the build-out of Porteos "will lay the groundwork for economic development opportunities for the entire region."