Category 2: Planning
Project Name: Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan
Project Location: Denver, CO
Quick Project Summary:
The Buckley Annex neighborhood creates a place where multiple generations of Denver residents can live,
work, interact and play in a walkable and diverse mixed-use environment. The 70-acre property, the last
remaining parcel of land held by the Department of Defense at the former Lowry Air Force Base, is an infill
site identified as an Area of Change by Blueprint Denver. The redevelopment plan fulfills the city’s vision for
directing development to areas that will “benefit from, and thrive on, an infusion of population, economic
activity and investment.” The neighborhood will be defined by its integration with and enhancement of the
surrounding neighborhoods and by offering balanced and diverse housing choices; opportunities to replace
lost jobs; a mix of uses and quality amenities. The master plan was created within an extensive public
involvement process and represents a vision for the property developed with the guidance of four community
task forces, as well as discussions with the Air Force, City of Denver representatives, the Lowry
Redevelopment Authority, and potential developers.
Purpose of Project:
The purpose of the project was to develop a master plan that discovered the highest and best use for the
property within a process that followed the Department of Defense’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)
guidelines. The planning process was managed by the Lowry Redevelopment Authority (LRA) serving as the
entity responsible for creating a plan for closed facilities before property is transferred for development. The
planning team followed the BRAC process, which requires creating a vision for the property that involves all
stakeholders and within a particular timeline. With the plan now in place, the Air Force will sell the property
directly to a private developer through a public sale, or transfer it to a newly formed redevelopment authority
through an economic development conveyance. With key stakeholders, the planning team established the
following vision statement: We must investigate plan alternatives for the Buckley Annex that are marked by
choices, offering jobs, diverse housing, a hierarchy of public spaces and civic destinations that appropriately
balance the needs and wants of many interest groups and deliver quality and value and a clear path to
The final plan builds upon the success of Lowry to create a vision for a neighborhood that integrates with the
surrounding community and that serves as a vibrant hub for multiple generations. The plan is defined by
choices, including two mixed-use nodes united by a townhome boulevard and surrounded by a range of
attached and detached homes oriented to open space and walkable streets.
Role of Planner/Landscape Architect:
The planner was the lead of an interdisciplinary team. Other consultant disciplines included Transportation
Analysis and Planning; Civil and Structural Engineering; Economic/Market Analysis; Economic Development
and Financial Analysis; and Public Involvement Facilitation. The Planning consultant role included
development of a project vision statement and guiding principles vetted by the consultant team and
community, iteration of concept plan alternatives and draft redevelopment plans to arrive at the Final
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan, incorporating into the plan analysis and projections provided by the
other consultants, and leading all presentations to the community with the LRA.
Despite being linked in name and proximity to the Lowry community, Buckley Annex was decommissioned
by the Air Force more than a decade later and in a separate process from the original 1,866-acre former
base. Since the new Lowry community is seen as so successful, the Buckley Annex development plan was
able to derive some of the stakeholder good will and market value from the greater Lowry redevelopment,
which is nearing full build out. However, after a decade of building neighborhoods, a mixed-use town center,
open space and recreation amenities, a library and several schools, Lowry is now a well-established
community where 25,000 people live and work. These people are now concerned about maintaining their
quality of life and are fearful of the future changes at the neighboring Buckley Annex. In addition, the
surrounding older neighborhoods were strongly opposed to redevelopment. Concerns included increased
traffic, obstruction of mountain views by tall buildings, and mixed-use development bringing density and
product types not like their single-family homes. Despite having participated in developing project challenge
and vision statements, and guiding principles for the redevelopment plan related to the four Task Forces
(Market Research and Economic Development, Transportation, Housing, and Planning), a small but vocal
contingent of community members began to speak out against the project about halfway through the 12-
month planning process. Therefore, the consultant team lead by the planner, with support from City of
Denver and the LRA, were faced with an additional challenge to balance diverse stakeholder interests in the
plan, to educate the stakeholders about the need to define an appropriate yield to offset redevelopment
costs and make the plan attractive to developers, and to determine the density required to offset generous
parks, public spaces and other amenities desired by the community.
Additional special factors include the nonexistence of a developer client, which triggered the need to be
explicit about balancing stakeholder interests in order to create a progressive yet pragmatic plan that the Air
Force could sell to the highest bidder, but that was also acceptable to the community. Key interests
considered by the team included: the Air Force, the City and County of Denver, the community, the LRA and
the realities of the market place.
Another distinguishing factor of the redevelopment planning process reflected in the plan is that non-profit
organizations can acquire federal surplus property through a public benefit conveyance. The LRA received a
notice of interest from a consortium of 12 homeless transition housing providers, which requested 298
housing units on a total of 15 acres. The planner conducted an analysis of the financial and operational
feasibility of the homeless housing submittal, which indicated that funding structures were viable. The
planning team and Housing Task Force’s recommendation requires the redevelopment plan to include 20
rental units for homeless families as part of a mixed-income development located on a 1.5 acre site within
the larger 70-acre property with four potential locations identified. This is part of a larger affordable housing
program for the site that includes both for-sale and for-rent residential units.
The project is significant to the profession both from a public perception standpoint and also from within the
profession. The landscape architects and planners were the lead consultant on this extremely complex
project involving federal agencies, a local redevelopment authority, city officials and community task forces.
It required knowledge and leadership beyond the plan itself, such as understanding market conditions and
economic feasibility of proposals, learning about social issues such as homeless and affordable housing and
accommodating them in the plan, advocating for increased density and a mix of uses to a sometimes hostile
community audience because it allowed the plan to be more environmentally, socially and economically
sustainable. These are not the types of things one learns about in landscape architecture programs; rather
they are issues learned about in the trenches of practice and that expand the perception of the profession
from within its ranks and from the outside.
2009 CCASLA Award Submission
Planning Category 2
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan
Land Planning Services Design Workshop
Engineering Services URS Corp.
Market, Financial and Economic Impact Analysis Economic & Planning Services (EPS)
Public Involvement Process Facilitation The Osprey Group
5-2 Environmental Baseline Survey, Buckley Annex, Colorado April 2007
2009 CCASLA Award Submission
Planning Category 2
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan
Photo Description Sheet
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 01
Development of the former 1866‐acre Lowry Air Force Base began in 1995 and it has now become a
vibrant mixed‐use neighborhood were approximately 25,000 people live, work or go to school.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 02
The site is situated on the western edge of the Lowry community. Immediately adjacent land uses
include single‐ and multi‐family residential, a library, Crestmoor Park, an office building, and a private
school. The plan respects these uses to ensure smooth transitions.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 03
The plan builds upon the success of Lowry to create a neighborhood that integrates with the
surrounding community. It provides the vision for how this neighborhood could be developed as a
vibrant community hub defined by choices to serve multiple generations.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 04
Given the site’s position as an infill site and current status as a federal property, the planning team
recognized the need to consider the objectives of a diverse group of stakeholders including the
community, the Air Force and HUD, the LRA, the market and the City and County of Denver.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 05
The planning process was driven by extensive public involvement as mandated by the Base Realignment
and Closure (BRAC) process. Task force members were asked to articulate their aspirations and
concerns, which were then tallied and summarized to show the range of opinions about the future of
the site. (48)
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 06
The transportation network creates the framework for a functional community that is accessible by
multiple forms of transportation and is integrated with the surrounding neighborhood. The proposed
streets connect to the Denver street grid. Lowry Boulevard extends through the site as the primary east‐west
arterial spine. (46)
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 07
The plan, divided by six sub‐areas, serves a range of housing, retail and employment needs with up to
800 residential units and two mixed‐use commercial areas . The open space network builds on Lowry’s
diverse park system and integrates stormwater detention.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 08
The plan establishes building heights for the central and edge areas of the plan. A future developer
desiring to build higher will be required to engage in a community‐based public process. This offers
flexibility to the developer to adjust to changing market conditions and produces complementary uses
and building heights for the surrounding neighborhoods . (55)
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 09
The planning team worked with a consortium of homeless providers to review and respond to their
application for land and units as part of the public benefit conveyance process when military property is
decommissioned. The homeless housing recommendation is part of a larger affordable housing program
that includes both affordable for‐sale and for‐rent residential units. (55)
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 10
Perspective views were created from different vantage points in the surrounding neighborhood to
answer concerns about the impacts of building heights. Each series includes the existing view, the same
view with 7‐story buildings and with 12‐story buildings for comparison.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 11
Perspective of Mixed‐Use Center.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 12
Perspective of First Avenue Residential Subarea.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 13
Perspective of Townhome Boulevard from the Community Park.
Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan 14
The planning team made significant changes based on task force and public input to balance the
interests of all stakeholders. This plan evolution diagram outlines 31 plan elements that members of the
task force and public influenced.
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