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Commerce City News & Announcements

Posted on: June 3, 2015

Adams County Communities and Denver Announce New Regional Pact to Drive Job Creation

Leaders from Adams County, Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Denver, Federal Heights and Thornton today opened a new chapter in cooperative business development and job creation for Denver International Airport and the region it serves. Culminating more than two years of discussions, officials unveiled the first major amendment to the original 1988 intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) that enabled the creation of DIA and guide commercial development there. The pact, which will require approval from voters in Denver and Adams County communities this fall, sets the stage for continued job creation and economic opportunity regionally for decades to come, while strengthening the global competitiveness of DIA, the entire metro area and all of Colorado. Adams County, Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Federal Heights and Thornton participated in the discussions that led to the agreement as members of the Airport Coordinating Committee (ACC). Under the new agreement: - Denver and Adams County communities would create a 1,500-acre pilot program on DIA to allow a wider spectrum of commercial uses than is currently permitted under the original 1988 IGAs. For example, the pilot program clearly would allow uses such as retail, office parks, warehouses and manufacturing even if they are not directly related to airport operations or aviation. - Adams County and Denver would evenly split tax revenues generated from the new commercial uses on these 1,500 acres. ACC members have set a formula to apportion the Adams County share of revenues among themselves. - Denver also would provide Adams County with an upfront payment of $10 million, to be divided among Adams County communities based on the same formula. - DIA would retain all of the lease revenue from these new commercial businesses. - The 1,500-acre pilot program could be expanded with approval from the ACC. - Denver and Adams County communities would create a regional entity to jointly market these new commercial business opportunities at DIA and the region – and possibly over time plan, fund and develop regional infrastructure. - Land-use restrictions also would be lifted on property on the edges of the airport. These “clear zones” were initially created as a buffer around DIA but there is now consensus that the restrictions are no longer needed. Adams County and overlapping municipalities would receive 100 percent of the tax revenue from new development in the clear zones, while DIA would retain the lease revenue. - DIA would not seek new commercial businesses that would compete with the nearby Anschutz Medical Campus and Fitzsimons Innovation Campus in Aurora. The agreement requires approval from the Denver City Council and Adams County Board of Commissioners and would take effect following ratification by voters in Denver and Adams County communities. Voters will be able to inspect the agreement and learn more about it before Election Day on Nov. 3. The original 1988 agreements paved the way for the relocation of overcrowded and outgrown Stapleton International Airport. DIA opened on its current 53-square-mile site in 1995. As part of the 1988 IGAs, Denver and Adams County made commitments that ensured Adams County and its cities would join Denver in reaping benefits from DIA. The agreement announced today builds on those commitments and will strengthen the regional economy. Over the past 20 years, DIA has become Colorado’s No. 1 economic engine, driving more than $26 billion into the regional economy each year and supporting a workforce of about 35,000 people, about half of whom live in communities in Adams County. # # # Commerce City Mayor Sean Ford: “Commerce City has been planning land uses and infrastructure to support airport-related development for more than two decades. That’s why city council supports today’s agreement that not only benefits the entire region, but also our residents. Commerce City borders DIA to the west and the north, less than 10 minutes from DIA’s main terminal. Today, the city has nearly 12 square miles of available land directly bordering the airport and several mixed-use projects underway. We look forward to working with all parties to advance infrastructure, land planning and marketing efforts that will reaffirm our collective position in the global marketplace.”
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