Leaders from Adams County, Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Denver, Federal Heights and Thornton have announced that an agreement has been reached on how the land at Denver International Airport will be managed for future development. The parties involved are members of the Airport Coordinating Committee. This agreement is the result of more than two years of talks between these parties. The agreement includes an amendment to the original 1988 intergovernmental agreement, that helped guide the creation of the airport.
“This historic agreement will have a seismic impact on metro Denver’s competitive edge in the global marketplace,” stated Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “Not only has our region come together once again to take hold of our shared future, but we are setting ourselves on a trajectory abundant with opportunity. I’m immensely proud of where we stand today because I know the possibilities we are creating for Colorado’s economy.”
For this agreement to come to fruition, it will require voter approval from Denver and Adams County communities this fall. The aim of this agreement is to create economic opportunities and job growth by developing the available land at DIA in a manner that ensures all parties involved and the entire Denver metro area and Colorado benefit.
“From day one, we have viewed DIA as an enormous opportunity for economic development, not only for Aurora, but all of Colorado,” said Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan. “While the negotiation was complex and took time to reach, it is good news for all of our communities. This agreement will allow us to take full advantage of the enormous economic development and job creation opportunities that deliver tangible benefits for area residents. Because of the hard work of all the jurisdictions in coming to this agreement, the future of Adams County, DIA and the entire region is stronger, brighter and more exciting.”
Below are the parameters of the agreement as listed in the press release that was issued by DIA, Denver and the Adams County Communities:
- 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.