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ARVADA, CO-Moody’s Investor Service upgraded the underlying rating on Arvada Urban Renewal Authority’s Colorado’s tax increment revenue bonds to Baa2 from Baa3. Arvada is a first-tier city northwest of Denver.

The Baa2 rating and stable outlook apply to $31 million in outstanding debt insured by MBIA. The improved rating reflects continued growth in the tax increment revenues, supported in part by recent retail openings, resulting in stronger coverage levels.

AURA’s continued trend of satisfactory financial operations, prohibition on the issuance of parity debt, and full repayment of outstanding debt by 2006 also support the higher rating, Moody’s says.

Redevelopment in AURA’s project area, including the opening of Costco in September 2001, has continued despite a generally stagnant regional economy, and discussion with other major retailers remain ongoing.

AURA was initially created to facilitate commercial redevelopment of 431 acres with the city in the early 1980s. The project area experienced a slowdown in the late 1980s because of the economy.

However, AURA rebounded in the 1990s with the establishment of nearly 370 businesses including Home Depot, Olde Town Theater, PetsMart and several restaurants and other businesses.

With many of the vacant large-scale commercial properties developed or redeveloped, AURA is now focusing on Historic Olde Town Arvada revitalization and a 26-acre residential project called the Water Tower Village. The village is projecting about 700 for sale and for rent mixed residential units.

Moody’s expects that ongoing development will continue to provide adequate revenues for debt service.

While the Downtown redevelopment is not expect to result in the same kind of explosive growth that AURA experienced in the past, AURA is negotiating with another “big-box retailer” for the southern part of the project area which will generate increased revenues.

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