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FY 2015 Defense Spending By State report now available for download.

Buckley Annex

Purpose: 

Overview:

Buckley Annex is building upon the Lowry redevelopment success by creating a neighborhood that integrates into the surrounding community.

Buckley Annex Today

Buckley Annex, the last remaining Department of Defense parcel of land at the former Lowry Air Force Base (AFB), closed in September 2011. Only four structures were located on the 72 acres, with Building 444 being the most prominent. The 660,000-square-foot, three-story building was well suited for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), but had no reuse potential or value. Instead, Building 444 was a major impediment to redevelopment. In the winter of 2013, the Lowry Economic Redevelopment Authority (LERA) demolished Building 444, thus initiating the implementation of Boulevard One, the last opportunity to own a new home in Lowry, Denver’s award-winning community. 

Boulevard One is a forward-leaning urban community in the heart of Denver. Contemporary designs blend work and life, acknowledge flexible families and honor sustainability. Trails wrap around intimate outdoor gathering spaces, thought-provoking art, and walk-to cafés and shops. An easy connectedness with downtown Denver adds to the city vibe.

Upon completion, Boulevard One is expected to generate around $2 million annually in new property taxes, and an estimated $2.1 million in new sales taxes. In addition, an estimated 400 full-time retail and office jobs are expected to be created.

Background

Buckley Air Force Base Annex (Buckley Annex) was created in 1938. It operated as a part of Lowry AFB until Lowry closed in 1994 as a result of a 1991 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommendation. The 1991 Commission determined, however, that the Department of Defense should retain Buckley Annex for DFAS, and the Air Reserve Personnel Command.

The 72- acre Buckley Annex was selected for closure by the 2005 BRAC Commission. This resulted in a loss of 1,960 civilian and contractor positions.

In 2006, the LERA was recognized as the local redevelopment authority for the Buckley Annex, and by 2008 the community had adopted a reuse plan. The Buckley Annex Redevelopment Plan builds upon the successful redevelopment of Lowry to create a neighborhood integrated with the surrounding community that offers diverse housing types, public spaces and amenities, and opportunities to replace lost jobs. The plan calls for up to 800 residential units, up to 200,000 square feet of commercial office and retail space, and a 4.5-acre community park.

Local, state, and national economic conditions changed dramatically between the reuse plan’s adoption in January 2008, and approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in May 2010. This affected many of the assumptions behind the reuse plan and its recommended conveyance via public sale with a required development agreement. As a result, the LERA prepared a Business and Operational Plan, and submitted an economic development conveyance application to the Air Force for review in July 2011. The property transferred in May of 2012.

The LERA acts as master developer for the property. It has completed demolition of all buildings and infrastructure, and has put in new utilities, streets, curbs, and gutters, etc.

Today, all of the property has been rezoned and is under contract or letter of intent. The LERA has sold approximately 184 lots to home builders to date, and there are 70 occupied homes.

The redevelopment plan included 76 units of mixed-income, affordable housing, including 20 units of transitional housing for the homeless. The LERA transferred 1.5 acres in 2017 to the Denver Housing Authority and Volunteers of America to construct a four-story apartment building to meet these community needs. In addition, Denver’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance required construction of affordable units for people making 80 percent of area median income. The LERA will satisfy this requirement by providing 14 for-sale townhomes at this price point. The LERA will donate 1 acre to the Colorado Community Land Trust to build the units, which will sell at approximately $147,000-$167,000. 

On the whole, the biggest challenge to redevelopment at Buckley has been the entitlement process. Denver is in the midst of an extraordinary period of growth, and there is heightened neighborhood involvement in the zoning process throughout the city. This resulted in one lawsuit at Buckley; the case against LERA and the City/County of Denver was dismissed. To ensure that zoning applications could withstand any suits, the LERA spent a great deal of time holding community workshops and soliciting input during the planning process.

Updated October, 2017

Point of Contact

Mr. Monty Force
Executive Director
Lowry Economic Redevelopment Authority
www.lowryredevelopment.org/

State:
CO