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DENVER-Continuum Partners LLC recently reached agreement in principle to purchase a significant part of the land adjacent to the Belleview light-rail station at the northwest corner of Interstate 25 and Belleview Avenue. The Bansbach family has owned the property since 1901. In partnership with the Bansbach/Warren families, the developer plans to build a transit-oriented development that would include 2.3 million sf of high-density residential, retail, hotel and offices. The development, to be called Belleview Station, surrounds the Belleview Station light-rail stop along T-Rex. The station opens in the fourth quarter of 2006.

“Our families have received enormous interest from developers on this particular piece of land,” says Dutch Bansbach. “We¹re impressed with the vision and approach Continuum brings to the table, as well as the company¹s reputation for developing dynamic, pedestrian friendly, mixed-use projects. We think this partnership is ideally positioned to produce a unique transit-oriented development in the heart of this community.”

Construction on the first elements of the project adjacent to Belleview Avenue is targeted to begin in the fall of 2006. Continuum is also working on plans to develop the core of the project and the area around the light-rail station. The 18 acres to be developed by Continuum is the heart of the entire 51-acre site, says Tom Gougeon, a principal of Continuum. At full build-out, the entire site will include more than five million sf, including an estimated 1.4 million sf of office space.

With a pedestrian-oriented main street planned through the center of the development, Belleview Station will include approximately 1,900 residential units, 600,000 sf of office space and 160,000 sf of retail. Continuum is also looking at plans for a full-service four- or five-star hotel and a comprehensive parking program for the site. A spokeswoman for Continuum says the completed development in today’s dollars could be worth about $800 million. That equates to about $345 per sf.

“We wanted to be involved in the development of this site because it¹s one of the most desirable and important transit locations along the entire I-25 corridor,” says Mark Falcone, CEO and founder of Continuum Partners. “The site is the southern gateway to Denver, a significant light-rail station location for the Denver Tech Center, and of regional significance as the transfer between the southeast line and the I-225 line.” It also is the northern entrance to the DTC, the premier office park in the metro area, which is primarily east of I-25.

“The strong retail interest already expressed confirms our perception that this can be an important destination in the Southeast corridor as well as a great urban neighborhood and workplace,” says Peter Fair, Continuum senior principal and director of leasing. “The combination of the site¹s prime location, proximity to established areas, adjacency to transit and enormous potential to support retail as well as office and residential uses, make it a natural for this type of mixed-use development.”

Continuum senior principal, Dan Murphy notes that Continuum’s other developments, such as 16 Market Square in LoDo, and Belmar–a new mixed-use community on 104 acres that replaced the Villa Italia regional mall, and now serves as the downtown for Lakewood–consistently outpaced the market. “Office users find a mixed-use, pedestrian friendly environment highly attractive,” Murphy says. “The interest we¹ve received to date indicates that Belleview Station will follow that same trend.”

In addition to 16 Market Square and Belmar, Continuum is developing Bradburn, a $220-million, mixed-use development at Sheridan Boulevard and West 120th Avenue in Westminster. Continuum’s projects have received awards and recognition from the Urban Land Institute, American Planning Association, Congress for the New Urbanism, American Institute of Architects, the International Economic Development Council, the US Environmental Agency and the Denver Regional Council of Governments.

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