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DENVER-More than $150 million is being spent to develop two multifamily complexes with a combined total of over 1,000 units at Central Platte Valley, a former railroad yard adjacent to downtown Denver.

The projects are being undertaken by Denver-based Archstone Communities and Houston-based Greystar Capital. “Most cities would be thrilled to have this much development going on in their entire city, not just one small area,” Rus Heise, chairman of the Downtown Denver Partnership told GlobeSt.com.

Jim Hill, a principal of Beaver Creek-based East West Partners, which is developing three “for sale” condominium projects in its Riverfront Park worth more than $100 million, says his company just sold a site for 600 to 700 apartment units to Archstone and a site to Greystar for 390 units. The land sales brought in $15 million for East West.

“It will be a little bit of a war zone in the valley,” says Hill, noting all of the construction starts in the next year. “It’s really starting with a bang.”

About a year ago, East West bought 25 acres from Trillium Corp. and has been selling off some of the land for apartments while it continues to build condominiums and lofts on the site. All told, more than 2,500 housing units are under construction or planned, Heise says.

“The Trillium project could be the poster child for how a master-planned redevelopment should be done,” says Jerry Kendall, an apartment broker with Cushman & Wakefield. He says the project’s “a winner in the high-density game due to its strategic planning from the onset. Recognizing the site’s historical significance was an important first step. Then, an effort was made to understand the neighborhood’s characteristics followed by early cooperation with planning authorities to resolve any critical issues and finally, coordinating transportation with parking, bus and light-rail components. “This site is the gateway and/or front door to Denver and the place people want to be in the metro area,” says Kendall.

Bobby Smith, a vice president of development based in Archstone’s Austin office, says he is bullish on Denver. Archstone has a market cap of more than $6 billion and owns 75,000 apartment units across the country, making it the nation’s second largest apartment REIT after Sam Zell’s Equity Apartments.

“We think the LoDo area and the Central Platte Valley are just fantastic development opportunities,” says Smith. “We like being up against LoDo and our proximity to the central business district. When you look at Coors Fields as a bookend, the other being the Pepsi Center, Colorado’s Ocean Journey, the new Bronco’s Stadium, light rail coming and our proximity to the 16th Street Mall, we just think it is where people will want to live.

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