Late last week, there were two news stories reporting on important developments for real estate in the Denver area.  Given the continued state of the economy and commercial real estate, I was pleased to see these reports.  While actual development resulting from these events may be some time off, important ground work is being laid now. 

First, the Denver Business Journal reports that Regional Transportation District (RTD) has adopted a more flexible policy for transit‑oriented developments (TOD), which are anticipated to be constructed along RTD’s FasTracks expansion.  Four pilot projects will be selected by RTD to test this new policy. 

According to the DBJ, RTD’s new policy:

  • gives developers more flexibility with regard parking requirements for TODs;
  • allows RTD to take a combination of up-front cash and a deferred payment (profits interest or revenue participation for instance) for the sale of property to a developer; and 
  • encourages cooperation with developers in an effort to bring in more federal and non‑profit funding. 

Second, the Denver Post reports that Greyhound is looking to move its bus station from its current location at 19th & Curtis Streets (right across the street from The Ritz‑Carlton) to somewhere in the metro area near a major RTD bus or rail station.  This certainly is good news for The Ritz‑Carlton and also for downtown.  This is a key area of downtown, in close proximity to the Arapahoe Square redevelopment area.  In fact, the boundaries of the Arapahoe Square urban renewal area are being redrawn to include the Greyhound site.  The redevelopment of the Greyhound site could have a tremendous impact on the central part of downtown, and with its inclusion in an urban renewal area, the economics of such a redevelopment might actually make sense sooner rather than later.

I am a firm believer that being proactive during the downturn will mean we are better poised to be one of the first markets to really see a rebound.  It is good to see RTD, DURA and others making decisions today that will hopefully attract new development to Denver when the market starts its recovery.