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DENVER-Almost 17 acres of prime land off of Pena Boulevard, the main entry and exit from Denver International Airport, could be opened to future retail and commercial development. The stretch is attractive because it could draw not only people using the airport, but DIA’s 30,000 employees. Eventually, it could be home to an urban village.

“Some people say that DIA is the ultimate TOD,” or transit-oriented development, Julie Bender, president of the non-profit DIA Partnership tells GlobeSt.com. The DIA Partnership hosted a recent meeting on development potential along the northwest side of Pena Boulevard and Gun Club Road, next to the existing Conoco Station.

More than 80,000 vehicles pass the area on a daily basis. It also is just north of the airport’s 45-minute waiting area. The airport wants to hear from developers before its begins seeking official proposals on what is known as the “Pena project.” The process could kick off as early as this year.

However, agreements between DIA and neighboring Adams County restrict development. Big-box developments such as Wal-Mart and large grocery stores aren’t allowed. Retail developments can’t be destination-oriented, but rather must serve to travelers and employees at DIA. Developers can lease space, but only after receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. The idea behind the Pena Project is to increase non-aviation revenues from the airport. That in turn, would reduce costs for airlines operating out of DIA.

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