Arapahoe at Greenwood Village is a transit station on the E and F lines of the Denver Region Light Rail System.
Project Type:Station Project Mode:Light Rail Average Weekday Riders:3,291 Length (mi):0.00
Economic Distress:0.60 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):606 Population Growth Rate (%):2.50
Employment Growth Rate (%):6.70 Market Size:2,601,465 Airport Travel Distance:28 Topography:5
Region:Rocky Mountain / Far West State:CO County:Arapahoe County
City:Greenwood Village Urban/Class Level:Metro Local Area:Zip Code 80111 (Denver Tech Center)
Impact Area:3/4 mile around transit station Transportation System:Transit GIS Lat/Long:39.600446 / -104.890733
Initial Study Date:2000 Post Constr. Study Date:2014
Constr. Start Date:2001 Constr. End Date:2006
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): 2005 Planned Cost (YOE $):18,000,000
Actual Cost (YOE $):18,000,000 Actual Cost (curr $):21,470,691
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||119.39||0.00||119.39|
|Output (in $M's)||269.33||0.00||269.33|
Arapahoe at Village Center light rail station opened in November 2006 as part of the Denver Regional Transit District’s T-Rex (for transportation expansion) project. The T-Rex project, which was built to alleviate congestion along the I-25 and I-225 corridors, included both highway and light rail components. The project comprised the addition of two lanes in each direction along I-25 between downtown and Douglas County, the addition of two lanes in each direction on I-225 near the intersection with I-25, interchange improvements, and the construction of 19 miles of double tracked light rail and 13 stations along the I-25 corridor. This case study focuses on Arapahoe at Village Center transit station, located in Greenwood Village, Arapahoe County, Colorado in the Denver metropolitan area, which serves the Denver Technological Center (DTC) and Greenwood Village.
Since the T-Rex project was announced in 2001, 749,323 square feet of office space, 28,000 square feet of retail and 80 hotel rooms with an estimated combined total 1,601 employees have been constructed within ¾ miles of the station. An additional 626,000 square feet of office space, 42,000 square feet of retail and a 203 room hotel are under construction or planned, with some completing in 2016. These new developments, which are adjacent and connected by pedestrian walkways to the transit station, will employ an estimated 1,424 people. A total of 1,744 jobs at these developments can be attributed (100 percent on recent developments, 20 percent on projects from 2001 to 2015) to the transit station.
Millions of dollar of investment have been made to existing properties within the transit center. Property values (in terms of both sale value and rents) have a premium of between 5 and 20 percent within walking distance to stations along the T-Rex corridor.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
The Arapahoe at Village Center Station is located in Greenwood Village, 14.5 miles from downtown Denver, along the E and F lines of Denver’s light rail system. The station serves the Denver Technological Center (DTC) and the city of Greenwood Village. It is one of eighteen transit stations along the E Line of Denver’s light rail system. The station opened along with 12 other stops on an LRT extension that began service from downtown along I-25 in November 2006.
The expansion of LRT to the area was part of what is known as the $1.67 billion T-Rex (for Transportation Expansion) Project, which included the addition of two lanes in each direction along I-25 between downtown and Douglas County, the addition of two lanes in each direction on I-225 near the intersection with I-25, interchange improvements, and the construction of 19 miles of double tracked light rail along the I-25 corridor. The transit portion of the project cost $879 million, while the highway portion of the project totaled $795 million. Arapahoe at Village Center station platform and garage represented approximately $18 million (2005 dollars) of the total transit expenditure.
The station is 2.5 miles south of the I-25/I-225 interchange along I-25, about 17 minutes from downtown Denver and 30-40 minutes from the Denver International Airport (DIA). The station can be accessed via C-470 (west from I-25 to the foothills) and the E-470 (private toll road that runs east from I-25, then north to DIA, then back west north of Denver.)
The LRT connects to existing LRT that provides service to the Central Platte Valley, downtown, and Denver’s southwest suburbs. Trains run at 10 minute headways during peak periods and every 15 minutes off-peak. There are 817 park-and-ride spaces at the station, as well as 10 bicycle lockers and 22 bicycle racks. It is served by five bus lines, including service to the Denver International Airport (DIA) and two RTD call-n-ride services.
Limousine service is available to and from the Denver International Airport to the Denver Technology Center, area hotels provide shuttle services for their guests to businesses in the DTC, and local bus routes also serve the DTC. Denver Regional Transit District provides a Call-and-Ride service, which allows employees to call for transportation from their office to the transit station. Some businesses run private shuttles for their employees. In addition to DIA, Centennial International Airport, a corporate airport with FAA clearance and a customs facility, is within 10 minutes of the DTC. By the end of 2019, the LRT E and F lines will be expanded 2.6 miles south to RidgeGate Park in Lone Tree, and a new line will connect these lines directly to DIA.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
Greenwood Village is located in Arapahoe County and is immediately adjacent to the City/County of Denver. Historically a farming community, the City has transformed into a residential and employment center. In 2000, the population of Greenwood Village was 11,035. In 2013, the estimated population of the City was 14,652, a 33 percent increase over 2000. In 2014, 38,055 people worked in Greenwood Village, 2 percent of the total MSA employment. Many of the jobs are in technology and finance and located at the Denver Technological Center (DTC). The per capita income of Greenwood Village in 2013 was $76,989, 148 percent higher than the median income of the Denver MSA. In 2000, the median income of Greenwood Village was 180 percent greater than the MSA. This decrease in the difference between the 2000 and 2014 income levels reflects that the Denver region as a whole is experiencing a renaissance in response to a growing tech sector that had been concentrated in the area of the Denver Technological Center. There is limited land available in the area of the station to support any additional growth.
The DTC, which straddles the border of Denver and Greenwood Village, is one of the Denver region’s premier employment centers. A reported 162 companies are located in the DTC area, with approximately 60,000 employees. Employers span most sectors. Major employers include United Cable Vision, AT&T Broadband, and United Artists Cable, all of which have been here since the 1970s when the center first opened. More recent tenants include Sprint, Echo Star Communications, Nextel, Dow Jones and Company, Merrick and Company, Regis College, Nissan Motor Corporation, and DirecTV. The DTC is at the northern edge of an eleven-mile-long corridor along I-25 that has 11 office/business parks. Greenwood Village is also home to several large office buildings, including the Plaza Tower One, a 22-story office tower adjacent to the transit station that is recognized as a signature address throughout the Denver metropolitan region.
In 1995, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the RTD and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) commissioned the Southeast Corridor Major Investment Study (MIS) to investigate alternatives for addressing current and projected congestion along the I-25 and I-225 corridors southeast of the Denver city center. Both downtown Denver and the Denver Technology Center, located in the vicinity of the I-25/I-225 interchange, were projected to grow as major employment centers over the next several decades. The transportation agencies sought congestion solutions that would change travel patterns in the corridor by incorporating viable transit options.
The result of the MIS was the $1.67 billion T-Rex project. The transit portion of the project cost $879 million, while the highway portion of the project totaled $795 million. The light rail expansion included 13 stations, of which the Arapahoe at Village Center Station is one of three serving the Denver Technological Center. The station platform and garage cost $18 million in 2005 dollars. The Arapahoe at Village Center Transit Plaza, built in 2009 and not part of the original transit station, cost $3,667,248, of which T-Rex paid $1.8 million. The remainder of the plaza was paid for by the City of Greenwood Village.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
In calendar year 2014, an estimated 20,372 passengers boarded trains at the Arapahoe at Village Center Station, an increase of 52 percent over 2007 totals (13,376). Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) on I-25 at Greenwood Village just south of Belleview Avenue totaled 252,000 in 2014, compared to 158,900 in 2001 (a 59 percent increase).
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
Since 2001, the RTD has kept track of all new development within ¾ miles of each transit station in its system, as well as under construction, proposed and stalled projects. In that time period (through September 2015), 749,323 square feet of office, 28,000 square feet of retail and 86 hotel rooms (in one hotel) have been constructed within ¾ miles of the Arapahoe at Village Center Station. An additional 346,000 square feet of office, 42,000 square feet of retail and 304 apartments are under construction. A further 280,000 square feet of office and 203 additional hotel rooms have been approved. Over 880,000 additional square feet of development that was previously proposed has been tabled for the time being.
the second quarter 2015 office vacancy rate for the southeast suburban market of 11.5% , completed office projects house approximately 1,530 office workers. Retail development over the period employs approximately 30 workers, based on the 3.3 % second quarter 2015 vacancy rate for the south/southeast market. The hotel employs an estimated 50 people. Proposed and under construction projects will add 1,275 office, 34 retail, and 115 hotel workers to the study area using the most recent vacancy rates for the type of space.
According to Colliers International, the Arapahoe at Village Center submarket was the “strongest office micro market in southeast Denver” in 2013. Major firms attracted to the area included Fidelity Investments, AngloGold Ashanti North America, Kaiser Permanente, DirecTV, and Merrill Lynch. Both Fidelity (which expects to have 880 employees at this location when fully staffed) and Kaiser Permanente (500 employees) specifically noted access to the light rail station as a reason for choosing this location. These two companies represent relocations within the region, so while proximity near a rail station was instrumental in choosing their offices near Arapahoe at Village Center station, the LRT cannot be credited with attracting the firms to the region.
By the end of 2015 the Westin Greenwood Village is expected to break ground on a 203-room five-star hotel with 6,000 square feet of conference space, a restaurant, a coffee shop and a bar. The hotel will employ an estimated 115 people (mentioned above). The 280,000 square foot Village Center DTC 10-story office building, which will be immediately adjacent to the Westin, received approvals from the City of Greenwood Village in January 2015, with completion expected in 2016. Assuming the current vacancy rate of 11.5% for class A office space in the southeast submarket, this building will house approximately 570 workers. The 346,000 square feet of under construction Office would support another 705 jobs.
Granite Properties, the developers of Village Center DTC, purchased the 342,672 square foot Plaza Tower One in 2012 for $82.5 million, completed an interior renovation in 2013, and will complete a nearly $2 million renovation to the exterior plaza in 2015, making it more pedestrian friendly. Plaza Tower One, which was built in 1987, is immediately adjacent to the light rail station. At 22 stories, it is considered Denver’s best-known suburban office building. While the property was built well in advance of the planning for LRT to the corridor, Granite Properties recent level of investment in the property is in part due to its location near the transit station.
In June 2015, KBS Real Estate Investment Trust III Inc., purchased 234,915 square foot Village Center Station I for a record $326.50 per square foot ($76.7 million total.) The buyer noted the building is “one of the premier light-rail served office projects in the Denver metroplex.” The building is immediately adjacent to the Arapahoe at Village Center station. According to Capital Realty Group, “pre-existing property within a quarter-mile of light rail has increased [in value] substantially in the years following construction of the light-rail, anywhere between 5 percent and 20 percent annually.”
According to a spokesman for the City, the area around the station is primarily commercial in character, with limited options for residential development. One apartment project with 304 units is under construction within ¾ miles of the station.
The southeast Denver submarket has benefited from the opening of the southeast light rail line. The line serves a robust technology corridor that was suffering from substantial congestion prior to the T-Rex project, which both improved highway capacity and introduced light rail service to the corridor. Not all development within the station area can be attributed solely to the transit station, but the station, combined with the highway improvements, were crucial to attracting reinvestment, new investment and high-end tenants. An estimated 20%, or 320 of the jobs at already completed new development within ¾ miles of the LRT station can be attributed to the project. The Westin Hotel and Village Center DTC, both of which are directly connected to the transit center, will create approximately 685 jobs that can be credited to the transit station development. Other under-construction office and retail projects total 739 jobs, for a total of 1,744 jobs attracted to the area by the transit station. The influence of the station on attracting development to the area is expected to continue into the future. The station and the entire rail corridor also serve to support a denser, more pedestrian-friendly development pattern in the Denver region, which helps to relieve congestion on the highway system. Many of the technology jobs within the corridor attract millennials, many of whom wish to be located near transit where they can rely less on automobile travel.
The Arapahoe at Village Center station directly serves the DTC, which has developed as one of the largest employment centers in the MSA since it was first conceived in the 1960s. The DTC is a magnet for the burgeoning tech sector in the region. Despite three transit stations serving the DTC, it remains auto-dependent, with a campus-style development pattern. The T-Rex investment in roadway improvements have been essential to the growth of the DTC.
Both the cities of Denver and Greenwood Village have adopted zoning to encourage denser development at the DTC and in the vicinity of the Arapahoe at Village Center station. Denver zoned the DTC area B-8, which allows intense commercial use and encourages high rises. Greenwood Village has created a special Town Center Zone to accommodate mixed uses with a range of allowable densities and building heights. In addition, the City has amended its parking code to allow adjustments in the number of required parking spaces for projects located close to transit stations.
Much of the development in Warner Center is attributable to economic and land use factors rather than pure transportation factors. The area previously contained many industrial sites that are ready for redevelopment given a proven demand for retail and commercial space in that portion of the Valley.
The overall economy of the Denver region has experienced a strong recovery from the 2008 recession. In 2014, Metro Denver’s job growth rate was 3.2 percent compared to the national rate of 1.9 percent.
City Manager’s Office, City of Greenwood Village
Denver Regional Transportation District
Denver South Economic Development Partnership
Denver Area Council of Governments
Case Study Developed by Economic Development Research Group, Inc.