By Megan Mitchell - Denver Post
A 2,900-acre community of homes, parks, offices and shopping districts could start taking shape this year on the vacant plains of east Aurora, pending approvals from local lawmakers.
The development team designing Aurora Highlands has formed under the name Aurora Highlands LLC. The team and Aurora officials have been working since early 2016 on plans for the development on a portion of the 21,000-acre Aerotropolis project planned south of Denver International Airport.
Amy Larson, spokeswoman for Aurora Highlands, said the developers’ vision for project is a full, multi-use, master planned community that will eventually cover 5,000-acres between E-470 on the west side, Powhaton Road on the east and 26th Avenue to the south and 56th Avenue to the north.
“We’re currently planning for about 23,000 homes, which we’re estimating will eventually be home to about 60,000 residents,” Larson said. “In addition to that there will be a corporate campus, a medical campus, retail space, class-A office space and additional commercial space. There will also be a variety of parks and open space and the biking and hiking trails and green space that we all love.”
Plans for Aurora Highlands include affordable housing units among the multi-family and single family homes, tentatively prices from $200,000 to more than $1 million. Early plans include a main entryway to the community marked with a large monument.
The principals of Aurora Highlands have successfully developed a combined total of nearly 100,000 homes throughout the Southwest, according to a news release. One of the developers, Carlo Ferriera, helped create a 3,500-acre community outside Houston called Shadow Creek Ranch.
The Aurora Highlands vision will be similar to Shadow Creek Ranch, and will include amenities like recreation centers, open space and park as well as a downtown district with retail, restaurants, entertainment and office space developments.
Aurora Highlands has proposed a public-private partnership with the city of Aurora and Adams County to provide regional transportation improvements and infrastructure, including new interchanges on E-470 and I-70. But basic development agreements among Aurora, Adams County and Aurora Highlands have not been hammered out.
“The developers are still in conversations with Aurora and Adams County in order to finalize the plans for the development as well as public-private partnership financing plans,” Larson said. “Once we reach a decision on those — probably in the next 30 to 60 days — the proposed framework and master plan will be submitted to Aurora for approval.”
After that, public meetings will be planned for the community to learn about and weigh in on the project.