The History of Denver's Stapleton Development

The year 1995 saw the opening of the Denver International Airport. This event also ushered in the closing of the Stapleton International Airport and the redevelopment of the Stapleton Neighborhood. It all started when a group of Denver civic leaders and planners convened back in 1990 to deliberate on a master plan that would see the redevelopment of the Stapleton site. The planned redevelopment was to emphasize pedestrian oriented infrastructure rather than the traditional automobile-centric designs that are commonly found in many planned developments. The redesigning of the area meant that 8 miles of runways, terminals and concourses will be turned into a new residential and commercial community.

The planning for the redesigning of Stapleton was an inclusive exercise that saw the involvement of different stakeholders from the commercial, industrial and residential front. These deliberations created a master plan known as the Green Book, which contains the guiding principles for the redevelopment process.

Forest City was selected in 1998 by the Denver City to make real the blue prints contained in the Green Book. The redevelopment process consequently kicked off in May 2011. The whole idea was to incorporate the delights of Denver; which include parks, tree - lined streets, welcoming front porches and ally - loaded garages into the new neighborhoods to be developed in Denver. The process would also see green architecture being a central theme with energy - efficient green building and water-wise landscaping being standard.

Affordable housing for sale and for rent in addition to commercial premises would be seamlessly fitted into the neighborhoods. The key would be to ensure that the environment remains as pedestrian-friendly as possible with many amenities located a walk of a bike ride away.

In 2004, residents started moving into the first apartments which saw a rise in the neighborhood's population. Three years later, more than 14,000 people moved into Stapleton which saw the development of other infrastructure including an interstate interchange connecting Central Park Boulevard to I-270, I-70 and the neighborhoods south of the interstate. The neighborhood which is also home to the Denver School of Science and Technology has so far received a national recognition as the site of the 2011 HGTV Green Home.

A controversial name

It is hard to talk about Stapleton and fail to mention the origin of its name. Stapleton International Airport was named after politician Benjamin Stapleton who was the city’ s former five-time mayor. The former mayor was also reportedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan. There is a bid by various community-based organizations like Denver’s BLM group to have the name changed of the neighborhood because of its background.

Final word

Over two decades later, Stapleton has become a global icon for in-fill redevelopment and has up to date become one of the largest in-fill projects ever. Currently, Stapleton is serviced by the Central Park bus station and commuter rail with a direct connection to the Denver International Airport and the Union Station in downtown Denver. The neighborhood also boasts one of the largest urban residential growth in the U.S

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