Revitalizing downtown Parker continues to move forward as the town council voted 5-1 on Nov. 7 to approve a massive development agreement with Confluence Companies.
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Revitalizing downtown Parker continues to move forward as the town council voted 5-1 on Nov. 7 to approve a massive development agreement with Confluence Companies. The agreement involves the town selling six parcels of land that currently sit vacant along the downtown corridor.
As part of the deal, the council agreed to give Confluence, headquartered in Golden, $57.3 million in incentives over 30 years through property tax, sales tax sharebacks and public improvement fees.
Weldy Feazell, the director of the Parker Urban Renewal Authority, broke down the details of the agreement, which she described as a win-win for the town to turn a corner with the My Mainstreet project, a community effort to encourage the right growth in the right places downtown.
Feazell said the town has tried to sell the six parcels of land since 2018, with multiple deals falling through. Confluence Companies, she said, provides the best chance to make progress.
However, Feazell said the deal could not go through without public investment. Hiring a third-party financial firm to run a variety of scenarios to see what is needed from the town to make the deal finanically feasible.
According to the GAP analysis, consultants concluded that the revitalization project is not financially feasible without public investment, recommending a financial gap combination of property tax, sales tax shareback, public improvement fees and general investment.
Councilmember Cheryl Poage said while she is not against growth and progress, she took issue with how the process came to a vote. Poage said the council was made aware of the more than $50 million financial commitment on Oct. 31, with the public being told on Nov. 3.
Poage stressed there has been a lack of transparency with the public and moved to delay the final vote until January. Just before voting on her motion, the town’s legal staff warned council members that the deal had to be approved on Nov. 7 or it would become null and void.
Poage’s motion to delay failed 5-1.
After nearly three hours of discussion. Poage voted against the measure to approve the final development agreement, stressing again the public deserved more communication and citizens should vote on such a massive development.
Feazell stressed that taxes and fees do not come from current business owners or residents. Instead, the fees are all associated with the success of the property. As the land is developed and more businesses open and residents move in, more sales and property taxes will be generated to fund the project.
Confluence earned a reputation for leading downtown revitalization projects. Confluence is credited for changing the makeup of Castle Rock’s downtown with multiple mixed-use development projects that combined residential construction with the addition of retail, restaurant and office space.
On Nov. 7, Tony DeSimone, the founding member of Confluence, said his company will create a mixed-use development plan that will be unique to Parker and not just follow the same steps as Castle Rock.
To develop the six parcels of land, DeSimone estimated it would take up to 10 years and a commitment from his company of about $300 million.
The six parcels, including Pine Curve and space near the PACE Center, had an estimated value of nearly $17 million. The parcels and development plans for each include:
Currently, Feazell said the vacant land collects zero tax dollars but the potential for more tax revenue as development moves forward would benefit the town.
To protect the town’s interest, the town’s legal team told council members there is an established schedule and standards Confluence will have to meet as the process moves forward. If Confluence fails to meet the standards, the town will get the land back.
Site plans and traffic studies have not yet been submitted. With the development agreement approval, designs and more definitive plans for each parcel will start being submitted next year.
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