By Clayton Woullard
An abandoned municipal dump site and abandoned clay mine are the first targets for urban renewal in Castle Rock.
The 66-acre site at the northwest corner of Plum Creek Parkway and Interstate 25 near the new Philip S. Miller Park has been vacant since the 1980s.
Town Council approved an urban renewal authority plan Sept. 2 for the Citadel Station/Castle Meadows project. The property will be turned into about 500,000 square feet of light to medium industrial use, 120,000 square feet of office space and 32,000 square feet of retail.
Developers Oasis Partners and Fenway Parnters anticipate that over the next six years the project will bring as many as 600 new jobs.
Mayor Paul Donahue said the town intends to be very judicious in the use of using the urban renewal authority in the future.
“All of those (uses on the project) will give job opportunities to residents here in Castle Rock,” Donahue said. “It will also help us fill land that was vacant for a number of years and will continue to be vacant for a number of years unless we work with the private sector.”
Urban renewal authorities in Colorado use tax increment financing to fund redevelopment projects targeted at improving blighted areas. When improvements are made to the area, the value of the property goes up, and sales and property taxes are higher. Under the TIF plan, the “increment” of the increased tax collections goes to the developer, not the tax districts such as schools, government and first-responder agencies.
Bill Detweiler, executive director of Castle Rock Urban Renewal Authority and director of development services for the town, said urban renewal is necessary for the project because there is a need for significant remediation.
The dump site project alone could cost between $8 million and $18 million, he said, and it is unknown how extensive the work will be to get the entire site ready for construction.
Infrastructure needs will be completed through tax increment financing, which will sunset in 25 years. Detweiler said all the tax entities agreed to the tax increment financing and he’s heard no negative feedback on the project.
Frank Gray, CEO of the Castle Rock Economic Development Council, said normally the council would prefer not to use the urban renewal tool and let the market bring projects to bear.
“I think that in this particular case, that urban renewal financing tool is the only way this ground can come into play,” he said. “The tool is valuable in providing key infrastructure to the project.”
The developers want to begin construction by late summer or early fall 2015. The project would be gradually built out over three to five years from the start of construction.
“We’re at a point in the market where we’re seeing a lot of demand and very little or any shovel-ready dirt in the Castle Rock market,” said Matt Call, principal broker with NavPoint Real Estate Group, which represents the developers. “With the population moving the way it is in Castle Rock, the number of primary jobs coming to Castle Rock, it’s really a booming market.”