DENVER–Hundreds of leaders in the area commercial real estate areexpected to gather today to honor one of the area’s pioneers, Walter A. Koelbel Sr. Koelbel is being honored by the University of Colorado for his 60-year relationship with CU in Boulder.

The celebration will be held in the Wells Fargo atrium lobby Downtown. Koelbel’s 52-year-old company is currently developing the 1,100-acre Rendezvous community in Granby, near Winter Park. The company also developed the 540-acre Preserve at Greenwood Village; the 450,000-sf Centennial Promenade power center at County Line Road and Interstate 25 across from the Park Meadows regional mall; and is the developer of the large Centennial Valley commercial property at US 36 and McCaslin, which it bought from Homart Development, the former development arm of Sears Roebuck & Co. in 1999. The company also developed the Breakers in southeast Denver, the first resort-style apartment community in the metro area.

Koelbel came to Colorado by happenstance. After graduating from high school in Michigan during World War II, he enlisted in the Navy. He was supposed to be sent to Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, but instead his orders were rescinded and he was sent to CU. At first he was disappointed, but when he first laid eyes on the Flatirons mountains in Boulder, he knew he had found his home.

At CU, he has chaired several boards, including the Macky Auditorium Renovation. He also helped to establish the CU Real Estate Center and he recently aided in the transfer of the University Improvement Corp. to the University of Colorado Real Estate Foundation. The improvement corporation’s role is to acquire properties that can financially benefit the university. The company is now run by his son, Buz, who graduated from CU in 1974.

Also at the celebration, the CU Real Estate Center will honor Randy Nichols’ Clayton Lane mixed-use project in Cherry Creek, which contains the world headquarters for the Janus family of mutual funds; the first JW Marriott hotel in Colorado; retail, including a soon-to-open Crate & Barrel, and some of the most expensive condominiums in Denver.

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