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DENVER-Christian P. Anschutz, son of Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, recently kicked off the first phase of a $100 million, mixed-use development in Cherry Creek North. The first building in what is called NorthCreek will have retail on the ground floor, 240 underground spaces and five floors of condominiums. It opens in the spring of 2007 at First Avenue and Detroit Street, across from the Cherry Creek shopping center. Immediately to the west is the world headquarters for the Janus family of mutual funds and the J.W. Marriott Hotel.

Anschutz’s company, the Western Development Group, earlier this year bought the full block from the Denver Tech Center for an undisclosed price. “It was bitter sweet selling it,” Peter Culshaw, president of the Tech Center tells GlobeSt.com. “But these guys are doing as good as a job as anyone. They’re doing a wonderful job.”

Western Development is following Culshaw’s plan for the first building, although subsequent phases may change, he notes. “I was born and raised in Denver, and this is my chance to make a contribution back to it. Hopefully, this will have an impact on the city. I’m hoping that it will be a first-class development that all of Denver can be proud of.”

Prices will start at $800,000 for 1,200-sf units. One 11,000-sf penthouse unit has already been sold. In total, about half of the units are spoken for, says David Steel, president of Western Steel. The building is being designed by Humphries Poli Architect and the general contractor is the Weitz Co. Mary Beth Jenkins of the Laramie Co. is leasing the retail space.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which was more symbolic than a true groundbreaking, because there already is a big hole in the ground for the first building. Hickenlooper quipped, “at most ground breakings, the ground is not so thoroughly broken.”

“A great city is made up of great neighborhoods, and there is no question that Cherry Creek is kind of our epi-center in terms of retail and the quality of life and neighborhood involvement,” Hickenlooper says. He also praised Poli Architects, calling it one of the best in Denver. “This is a first-class location,” Hickenlooper says about the NorthCreek block. “Congratulations. Don’t mess it up.”

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