The Air Force on Thursday will officially turn over the last remaining large parcel of land in Lowry to the Lowry Redevelopment Authority.
The 70-acre site, known as the Buckley Annex, is the only site that is still owned by the Air Force. Lowry, formerly an Air Force base, is considered one of the most successful redevelopments of a military base in the country.
The Buckley Annex, roughly bordered by Monaco Boulevard, East First Avenue, Quebec Street and East Bayaud Avenue, could be as equally as ground-breaking. About 9,500 people live in Lowry and about 8,000 people are employed by more than 140 companies there.
The City and County of Denver hopes to launch a “Net-Zero” development on the land that eventually could have 800 rental and for-sale housing units and 200,000 square feet of commercial space.
The idea is for the new community to produce more energy than it consumes, through such things as solar, geo-thermal heating and cooling and wind. Homes would be required to be energy-efficient and sustainable.
In addition to photovoltaic panels on the roofs of buildings, the development could receive electricity from a large solar farm, according to John Lucero, deputy director of the Denver Office of Economic Development.
The solar farm, however, would not be constructed on the Buckley Annex.
“There is not enough room for it,” Lucero told InsideRealEstateNews, earlier this month at an Urban Land Institute Colorado event. “The great thing is that the solar farm could be constructed anyplace in Denver.”
Lucero said that the city is working with Xcel Energy and Denver Water to reduce infrastructure costs at the Buckley Annex to make the land affordable to developers. Underneath the land are former runways for Air Force planes, which would be recycled and re-used in the development, he said.
“This can’t be a one-off development,” Lucero told IRN. “This needs to be a model redevelopment that can be picked up and duplicated elsewhere. Not just in Denver, but across the country. We hope this will truly be a model for energy-efficient, sustainable developments across the country. If it works the way we hope, we think it will draw a lot of attention to Denver.”
The LRA expects that it will eventually sell the land to about 10 to 12 residential and commercial developers. Land sales are anticipated to begin this winter or in early 2013.The new development, first reported by InsideRealEstateNews will include razing a three-story, 600,000-square-foot building that was built to house the Defense Finance and Account Service department and the Air Reserve Personnel Center. It was constructed in the 1970s and is a warren of cubicles to house about 3,000. The agencies vacated the building last September.
At Thursday’s ceremony, those scheduled to attend, include:
- Mayor Michael Hancock.
- Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman.
- David Herlinger, chairman ot the LRA.
- Stephen TerMattah, chief of the program management division of the Base Realignment and Closure and the Air Force Real Property Agency. The agency acquires, manages and disposes of all Air Force-controlled property worldwide.