Lone Tree prepares for development on east side

Lone Tree prepares for development on east side

McKenna Harford

Growth in Lone Tree is continuing to explode, hardly slowed by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with major projects planned for the east side of the city.

Mayor Jackie Millet gave the annual State of the City address on May 10 at the Lone Tree Arts Center to a room of residents, business owners and city and county leaders. Millet’s Mr. Roger’s themed presentation focused on fiscal stability and planning sustainably, while reminding listeners to be the helpers and spread kindness.

The biggest change on the horizon for Lone Tree is the flourishing east side. A majority of new development in Lone Tree will take place across 2,000 acres in the RidgeGate planned community, east of Interstate 25.

“The economic impact of the east side of RigdeGate will be significant for Lone Tree and the entire region,” Millet said. “It’s going to enhance the quality of living and working here with a new level of connectivity within the city and the metro region.”

The plan outlines three new residential neighborhoods, two RTD stations, a city center with business, retail and mixed-use space and over 600 acres of open space, trails and parks, including a regional park. The former University of Colorado Denver campus will be transformed into a high school career and technical center for Douglas County.

The first construction project in the area will be the Star Harbor Space Academy, the world’s first publicly accessible spaceflight training facility.

“The extraordinary campus is expected to attract more than two million visitors annually, and that’s just from this planet,” Millet joked.

Additionally, Tall Tales Ranch is fundraising to build a live and work space for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the Schweiger Ranch area. Other housing projects include 67 affordable apartment units from Koelbel RidgeGate and Lyric, one of the three residential neighborhoods planned in East RidgeGate.

Millet said the city center area will provide housing for 5,000 people and space for 35,000 jobs. The ultimate East RidgeGate buildout calls for 8,000 new homes, including 350 affordable units.

Currently, the average home price in Lone Tree is $1.2 million with a median income of $120,000 per year. However, the city’s revenue mainly comes from sales tax, which had been declining for the past few years.

Last year, Lone Tree voters approved a 1% special sales tax for infrastructure, public safety and outdoor spaces, which Millet noted will be key to maintaining the level of services provided by the city as the population expands.

“Lone Tree is spending these precious tax dollars to protect, maintain and enhance our business and residential neighborhoods,” Millet said.