PROJECT FACT SHEET
Lone Tree, Colorado
Purpose of Project
The concept for RidgeGate was born more than a quarter of a century ago when the owner envisioned a thriving 3,500-acre development on the outskirts of the metropolitan area. The project is strategically positioned along a major highway corridor and between rural areas to the south and sprawling suburban communities to the north and as the region has grown, what was once a green-field site at the fringe of the metropolitan area is now a prime infill site. The landscape architect was instrumental in showing the developer and the municipality the long-term economic, environmental and social benefits of creating a new mixed-use community that balances jobs and housing, promotes sustainable design, supports affordability, provides alternative modes of transit including light rail, and connects people to the beautiful open spaces that surround it.
Role of the Landscape Architect
For six years, the landscape architect’s role has been wide-ranging, diverse and strategic. The landscape architect was responsible for leading the master-planning, public facilitation, land entitlements, design guidelines and site design efforts for everything within the project site. In 2000, the landscape architect led a multi-faceted team to prepare a planned development district (PDD) that the municipality entitled and annexed later that year. Moreover, the landscape architect has been instrumental in preparing a light-rail study which has facilitated the extension of the future light-rail line into RidgeGate, in addition to assisting with preparing design documents for a new highway interchange, which have been conceptually approved at federal and state levels.
The project is a prime example of how the principles of smart growth can be applied to develop a new way of living in the metropolitan region and is planned to provide a variety of residential, commercial, institutional and civic uses on less land than most suburban models. Additionally, “green” development concepts are visible in how the planned development parcels and roadways were fit to the site, which preserves or enhances the existing natural drainage or open-space systems so that impacts to the environment are minimized while reducing infrastructure costs and providing beautiful public amenities.
Additionally, the project is a good example of the benefits of a public/private partnership. In 1998, the owners decided to find a partner who could fully support the idea of the project as a model for smart growth. Despite having entitlements with the county, the owner decided to ask officials of a neighboring municipality, which shared the owners’ vision, whether they would annex the property into their city. With little hesitation, this municipality saw this opportunity as a way to help the city grow in a sustainable way. Later that same year, the owner began a process to move the project forward through a rigorous planning and public participation process. After nearly 12 months of detailed planning and numerous public hearings, the PDD was approved by the municipality’s city council and subsequently approved for annexation by its citizens in a citywide vote in 2000. Page 2
The entitlements associated with the PDD allow for the following development to be built over a 50-year period:
1. 10,000 residential dwelling units including affordable housing (25,000 residents)
2. 24 million square feet of commercial space (100,000 employees)
3. 1,000 acres of open space (natural pristine bluffs and nature trails)
4. 100 acres of schools (elementary, middle and high schools including vocational educational programs)
5. 25 acres for civic facilities including recreation centers, libraries and a performing arts center
6. Land for a new light-rail corridor including two stations and an end-of-line parking facility, plus regional and local bus stops
7. Partial funding and land for a new highway interchange
8. Reuse of an existing historic farmstead as a cultural, educational and/or civic facility.
The project’s modified grid street system responds to the natural topographic features, minimizing impact to the environment and reducing construction cost. The street network efficiently distributes vehicles, reduces the likelihood of congestion, shortens emergency response times and connects neighborhoods, districts and destinations better than its suburban counterpart. Lastly, the width of streets has been designed to accommodate on-street parking and narrower travel lanes in order to slow traffic and create pedestrian-friendly community.
The project’s compact development pattern is based on land capacity and context while allowing for flexibility to respond to marketplace conditions. The site is envisioned as a series of mixed-use districts, each with a predominant land use or development anchor. Every district will have a range of jobs, housing, retail, parks and other amenities. The largest of these districts will be the city center, a mixed-use hub organized around light-rail transit. Ultimately, the city center is expected to be home to thousands of residents, workers and visitors, an urban edge city that will come to fruition in 20 to 30 years.
Already, Sky Ridge Hospital, located within the first phase of development, has generated over 1,000 new jobs and is considered one of the most successful medical facilities of its type in the nation. Its success has been a catalyst for other development projects including the construction of public roads and utilities, the opening of the Lone Tree Recreation Center, several new mixed-use residential neighborhoods, and Lincoln Commons, a 50-acre lifestyle retail destination, which is tentatively scheduled to open in 2007.
RidgeGate represents the future for establishing a truly mixed-use, integrated, transit-oriented community in the Denver metropolitan region. It will not only be a place to live, work and play, but a place of cultural and intellectual exchange, recreation, commerce, education and entertainment for generations to come. 4321
A-30-1: Regional Context
The community is at the edge of metropolitan Denver, where the plains meet scenic bluffs.
1-Light rail / Highway corridor
2 -Municipality boundaries
4 -Rural Douglas County231546A-30-2: Comprehensive PlanAccommodates growth through innovative land-use practices and multi-modal transportation opportunities, including a mix of uses and compact development sensitive to the natural environment.
2 -Project site
4 -I-25 Highway
5 -Lincoln Avenue
6 -Existing residential development
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.