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DENVER-More than 500 people attended the recent DIA Partnership’s third annual award luncheon. The event kicked off with a tribute to Mayor Wellington E. Webb, who leaves office after 12 years on July 21. Mayor-elect John Hickenlooper made a surprise appearance to introduce the tribute to Webb.

“Mayor Webb saw the possibilities of doing business in the DIA district and (has) been a huge part of our growth and economic development,” says Julie Bender, president and CEO of the public-private partnership committed to business attraction, retention and expansion throughout the 300-square-fmile DIA District.

The partnership also recognized five projects:

+ Belle Creek Family Center in Commerce City, CO, which will provide an early childhood learning center, a K-8 charter school, a recreation center, as well as other community amenities at is fledgling housing development. Belle Creek is a partnership of a landowner, master developer, homebuilder and a non-profit housing developer/manager.

+ CAE opened its 16th commercial airline-training center at Gateway Park near DIA. The company trains 60 pilots per day at the facility and expects to train more than 20,000 in its first year. Many cities across the country tried to land the CAE facility.

+ Lowry Town Center is the first retail center in the historic core of the former Air Force Base that is now a thriving community in East Denver. The $20 million town center created more than 200 jobs and brought in 24 stores and restaurants.

+ Quebec Square is Stapleton’s first regional retail center. Forest City developed it. It includes Home Depot, a Wal-Mart Super Center and a Sam’s Club, as well as other national and regional stores and restaurants.

+ The Stapleton Business Center is one of the first major commercial developments to be built at Stapleton after the opening of DIA. The 3.2 million-sf center was developed by Catellus Development Corp. Catellus has completed leases with Whirlpool Corp., Design Materials, Western Paper Distributors Inc., and QualMark Corp.

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