Lone Tree was in contention for Amazon HQ2, officials say

RidgeGate East site called ripe for development

Posted 12/18/18

Lone Tree was a serious competitor in the Denver metro area's bid for Amazon's second headquarters, city officials said. The company announced in November it will move to two locations: New York City …

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Lone Tree was in contention for Amazon HQ2, officials say

RidgeGate East site called ripe for development

Posted

Lone Tree was a serious competitor in the Denver metro area's bid for Amazon's second headquarters, city officials said. The company announced in November it will move to two locations: New York City and Arlington, Virginia.

A 125-acre lot in the RidgeGate East area, the area southeast of Lincoln Avenue and I-25, was a top-of-the-list competitor for the Seattle-based e-commerce giant's second home, according to Lone Tree Mayor Jackie Millet.

Sam Bailey, vice president of economic development for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, a privately-funded economic development group, said Metro Denver EDC submitted 30 sites from across the Metro Denver region. Eight sites led the proposal as they best satisfied the requirements of the Amazon HQ2 proposal. Bailey could not comment specifically on the eight sites.

As for what's next for the RidgeGate site, it is “prime time for development,” according to Jeff Holwell, Lone Tree's economic development director.

“Now, it's more a matter of the market,” Holwell said. “If someone comes on Jan. 1 and starts talking about a piece of property, I think it's ready to be discussed.”

The horizontal work on RidgeGate East, the infrastructure for water and sewer drainage, is finished. Holwell expects residential development in 2019.

Coventry Development, the development group heading the RidgeGate project, plans the area to be the Lone Tree City Center, with a mix of residential and commercial buildings.

“The urban nature of the proposal for Amazon matches what we envisioned all along for the (Lone Tree) City Center Station,” Holwell said. “Quite frankly, we were unique in the Denver metro area. Access to travel, community, workforce, transport — we checked all the boxes. That was the only site that would've qualified.”

Lone Tree has become an attractive location for companies to move to as the city continues its expansion. According to the city's website, there are 20,657 employees in the city, which is up 42 percent from 2014. In 2014, Charles Schwab built its 15-acre campus in the RidgeGate neighborhood near the Lincoln Avenue interchange with I-25. The company employs about 4,000 people.

Millet said the city was a competitive option to host Amazon HQ2, and said the city's proposal “rose to the top” of the dozens of proposals across the country.

“We didn't need to do anything except introduce ourselves,” Millet said. “We were thrilled to death to be one of the finalists, because it very much validates the work that's been going on in the city.”

Although the city missed out on Amazon HQ2, Lone Tree did become home to an Amazon facility in November with the opening of the new Amazon 4-star store at the Park Meadows mall.

“I think Amazon did pick Lone Tree. They just picked it in a different way,” Millet said. “The demographics of the community were attractive to Amazon."

By June 2019, Lone Tree will be home to three additional light rail stations south of Lincoln Avenue at Sky Ridge Medical Center, the Lone Tree City Center and RidgeGate Parkway, which will be the southernmost stops for the RTD light rail system. The stations will serve the thriving RidgeGate neighborhood, home to Sky Ridge, Charles Schwab, the Lone Tree Arts Center, Cabela's and Super Target, as well as RidgeGate East.

“A community our size is embellished by all these great things around us,” Millet said. “Colorado is a great place, and I think we've had a lot of success in Lone Tree in attracting business, and scoring well on Amazon's requests for proposals did not come as a surprise. I would argue we're positioned very well for any business.”

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