Council OKs Schwab site plan

First phase to include parking garage, pair of five-story buildings

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Charles Schwab got the signal it needed from the Lone Tree City Council to move ahead with construction of its 32-acre corporate campus.

The council approved Schwab’s site improvement plan during its March 19 meeting.

“From the council’s perspective, they are done,” said Kelly First, the city’s planning manager.

The first phase of construction on the property at Lincoln Avenue and Park Meadows Boulevard includes a pair of five-story office buildings, a parking garage, an events garden/amphitheater and a retail branch building.

Another five-story office building and second parking garage will be built during a later phase.

The Fortune 500 financial securities firm, based in San Francisco, plans to consolidate its three Denver-area offices at the new Lone Tree campus. Those 2,100 employees will fill phase one. An additional 700 positions, for a total of 2,800 employees, are expected at build-out of the $230 million project planned in the RidgeGate development.

Buildings are proposed on the north end of the site to maximize views of the Front Range, according to a city staff report. Trails and sidewalks planned throughout the development will link the buildings and lend a campus atmosphere.

Councilmember Susan Squyer complimented architects for integrating the outdoors into the project.

“Especially that amphitheater,” she said. “It’s a sizable green space, which helps to break up the massing of the project.

“The buildings are very large. The one thing I felt I’d like to see was some larger, more mature trees to fit against the backdrop of the tall buildings, and help mitigate that impact.”

While city council approved the plan with little discussion, some design reviewers encouraged Schwab to refine the architecture. The approved buildings will feature earth-toned, pre-cast concrete and glass.

“The RidgeGate (Design Review Committee) and staff have encouraged the application to consider a more contemporary, distinctive design that relates better to the quality and character of the community, particularly given the substantial size, prominence and long-lasting presence of this campus …” the report says. “While some minor enhancements were made, the applicant has resisted further architectural modifications, noting a desire that the architecture express a conservative image.”

That conservative image, an architect working with the company said, “reflects the preferences of the client and the corporation’s clients,” according to the report.

Traffic generated from Schwab’s large campus requires construction of a new street that will feed into Lincoln at Heritage Hills Circle, creating a four-way intersection. That street, Bellwether Lane, will extend south to RidgeGate Parkway, and likely will open to traffic in September.

Schwab plans a May 10 groundbreaking at the site.