A Bold Catalyst for Colorado
Denver International Airport (DEN) contributes more than $26 billion annually in economic impact to Colorado. Like airports in Atlanta and Munich, DEN has become a catalyst for regional economic development, spurring growth of airport-oriented projects on and around the airport in an area known as an aerotropolis.
Voters in Adams and Denver Counties approved ballot measure 1A in 2015 that allowed for non-aviation related businesses to develop on 1,500 acres of airport property. Outside of DEN property, thousands of acres of planned development in Aurora, Brighton, and Commerce City are on the drawing board for residential, professional services, office, commercial, and industrial uses.
Major corporations already have established strategic footprints within the airport’s immediate zone of influence:
- Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center (Aurora)
- Panasonic’s North American Headquarters & Peña Station NEXT (Denver)
- Kärcher North America Headquarters (under construction) (Aurora)
- McLaine Food Services (Commerce City)
- Amazon Fulfillment Center (Aurora)
- University of Colorado A-Line Commuter Rail to DEN
“We see the airport as being in a corridor of growth and opportunity,” said Darryl Jones, vice president of DEN Real Estate. “It’s a great position to be in, very much a position of strength. Looking at other major airports around the world, not many can say they have the land access that we have in Denver.”
Tricia Allen, Interim President/CEO of Adams County Economic Development added, “This was a big deal for the region and the state of Colorado. There’s a lot of unity around the aerotropolis idea.”
Infrastructure planning and financing are key factors in the growth of the aerotropolis. Street widening and improvements already are under construction on Tower Road, north of Pena Boulevard. Jackson Gap Street provides a new southern entrance to DEN from 58th Avenue. Coordinated planning and regional collaboration on infrastructure will be key to realizing the potential of the aerotropolis.