Places like Monk and Mongoose Gourmet Coffee in Lone Tree are what Keith Simon calls “the holy grail” of a planned development. The coffee shop in RidgeGate has become a popular spot for residents and area employees.
The executive vice president and director of development for Coventry Development, the main developer of the RidgeGate community, said it's those types of smaller, local businesses that he hopes to bring in abundance to Lone Tree's budding center, just east of I-25.
New buildings in RidgeGate, like the Charles Schwab parking garage, will feature surrounding retail and restaurants. The Kiewit building, coming to RidgeGate in 2021, will also feature smaller spaces for retail and restaurants.
“We had hoped for little sprinklings of retail among the community,” Simon said. “It's good to see those kinds of things. They're a lot harder to do, but they make it more of a vibrant place and they create these more independent-seeming businesses that help create this sense of community.”
As the much-anticipated Southeast Rail Extension project nears its grand opening in May, RidgeGate is gearing up for “fast-paced transformation,” according to a press release sent March 28.
The three new stations will be the cornerstone of new development in RidgeGate.
The Lone Tree City Center will feature a 400-acre “urban core,” that will be built over the next several decades. Development is expected to begin as early as 2020. The release stated the city center will serve as the new “downtown” for Lone Tree, centered around the Sky Ridge Station and mixed-use, transit-oriented development.
Three residential villages will be created on the east side of I-25 in RidgeGate beginning in 2020.
The Southwest Village near the RidgeGate Station and Schweiger Ranch will be the first residential village to begin construction. The Couplet District, along RidgeGate Parkway, will feature a major grocer and will serve as a local marketplace for the new villages. Well in the future, development of the Central Village, just southwest of the CU South Denver campus, the Southeast Village and the Lincoln Avenue Commercial District, will fill out Lone Tree's east side.
The villages will feature “civic amenities, retail and restaurants and support a walkable village environment,” the release states.
Simon said they are creating a “complete community,” integrating a broad mix of residential, retail, restaurants, office spaces, hotels, civic centers and parks and open space.
“We are looking for placemaking and thoughtful urban design to be a hallmark of the continued development on the east side of I-25,” Simon said in the press release. “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.”
The Sky Ridge, Lone Tree City Center and RidgeGate stations will officially open for public use May 19. The development of the city center, between Sky Ridge and RidgeGate Parkway, will serve as the “hub” of the activity for the area with 32 city blocks of development planned around it.
Mayor Jackie Millet said the city is excited about the development opportunities that will contribute to the city's reputation as a “premier Colorado community,” according to the release.
“Lone Tree and RidgeGate have demonstrated what can be accomplished when a municipality and a community developer collaborate to achieve their goals,” Millet said in the release. “In just 15 years, RidgeGate has enhanced the quality and character of our community with expanded employment, retail, recreational and cultural amenities.”
One of the keys to RidgeGate's fast-paced development has been its ability to attract major, diverse employers like Sky Ridge Medical Center and Charles Schwab, Simon said. Kiewit, a major construction and engineering company, recently announced plans to bring its regional headquarters to RidgeGate by 2021, adjacent to the Sky Ridge Station. The company plans to employ 1,100 workers.
“We're in it for the long term, so we want to make sure it is very high-quality, lasting and somewhat timeless. That's what it's always been about,” Simon said. “It's a little higher density than what you would find in the suburbs because we really think the time is right for it in the suburbs, and this has proven it true, what's happening here.”