DENVER-The long over-looked southwest Denver market is taking off. An analysis by R. Brian Watson, a broker with the Denver office of Cushman & Wakefield Inc., is identifying 15 projects with an aggregate of 2.9 million sf that has just been completed, under construction or will be starting in the near future.

Projects range from build-to-suits, such as the 600,000-sf Lucent Technologies campus in Highlands Ranch, to the proposed Opus@Bandimere project on the site of a current drag strip that hopes to move to the metropolitan area’s northeast quadrant.

Watson says companies increasingly are choosing to build along a loop road called C-470 because congestion is far less than the Interstate 25 corridor, where most of the office parks are located. The I-25 corridor will only get worse starting next year, when an eight-year, multi-billion-dollar road-widening program begins. The transportation project also will bring light-rail service to the I-25 corridor.

The southwest area already is served by a light-rail line. One project by Denver-based Pinnacle Development Co. is only a half-mile from the end of the southwest line and is the first bus stop from the line. “It’s no wonder the business community is taking up office and R&D space as soon as it is made available in this emerging hot market,” says Bill Conway, a broker with Trammell Crow Co.

Pinnacle recently sold two structures in its Hilltop Business Center, First Industrial Realty is developing two buildings, totaling 90,000 sf and Mack-Cali is planning a four-story, class-A office building with 128,000 sf at Hilltop.

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