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When Harold Anderson moved in 1994 to what would become the city of Lone Tree a year later, he couldn't have imagined how much the community would grow in his more than 23 years as a resident.
Anderson served on the Lone Tree city council for two terms, and has watched and helped guide development in the city that has grown to roughly 14,000 residents.
And it's not done growing.
The recent approval of the mixed-use RidgeGate East development by city council could triple the number of residents in Lone Tree, and include what the developer calls attainable housing, which Anderson said is much needed.
“I'm really happy they are going to be including (attainable housing),” said Anderson. “One of the problems I've seen is that residents' parents want to move here to be near their kids and grandkids, and there just isn't any affordable places they can live.”
According to a representative for the developer, Coventry Development, the attainable housing units will be multi-family dwellings, with rents charged based on median household income. The median household income in Lone Tree is about $117,000, according to the city. People making up to 60 percent of the median income, or about $70,000 a year, would be eligible to rent there.
Lone Tree's housing prices rank among the highest in the metro area. In the first two months of the year, the median sales price for a single-family home in Lone Tree was $851,500, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Town homes and condos sold for a median price of $477,500, according to DMAR.
Sub-area plans were approved for a 400-acre Lone Tree City Center, and 1,800 acre East Village, which will be built east of I-25. The development will follow the same environmentally sensitive approach as the RidgeGate West Village, according to a news release. RidgeGate East will include a series of three residential neighborhoods with integrated commercial uses and an extensive park and open-space network. The city center plan includes a highly walkable and bicycle friendly urban center, that developers say could support up to 50,000 new jobs.
Construction has already begun on the infrastructure of the development, which could take up to 40 years to complete, according to Coventry.
The development of RidgeGate West, which is nearing completion, began in 2003, with SkyRidge Medical Center being the first occupied building in the development.
The continued development of the RidgeGate projects has helped Lone Tree earn and maintain a reputation as a premier Colorado community, according to Mayor Jackie Millet.
“Lone Tree and RidgeGate have demonstrated what can be accomplished when a municipality and a community developer collaborate to achieve their goals,” said Millet. “In just 15 years, the RidgeGate West Village has enhanced the quality and character of our community with expanded employment, retail, recreational and cultural amenities. We are excited about the development opportunities on the east side of I-25 that will contribute to Lone Tree's current reputation as a premier Colorado community.”
Keith Simon, executive vice president and director of development for Coventry Development Corp., said open space and parks are vital to a vibrant community and have been heavily factored into the RidgeGate East development.
“We are looking for placemaking and thoughtful urban design to be a hallmark of the continued development on the east side of I-25,” said Simon. “This means creating diversity and walkability with mixed-use districts, and vibrancy with parks and plazas for outdoor movies, farmers markets and other community events. In fact, parks and open space will make up a quarter of our total acreage in RidgeGate East.”
Anderson said it took him a little while to embrace the new look of Lone Tree with the RidgeGate West development, and he realizes some people won't like the upcoming development.
“RidgeGate West had to grow on me just a little bit," he said. "The density of housing was totally different than anything I was used to. I think there will be some of our residents who won't like the growth — there's always a few. But I think our city's going to get used to it. (There are) going to be some big changes, but I think we will love those changes in the long run.”
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