Developer drops plan for corporate center in Centennial

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A developer has withdrawn an annexation petition and dropped plans to build the Dry Creek Corporate Center, a large, mixed-use office development once targeted for a vacant parcel near Easter Avenue and Havana Street.

City council had scheduled a public hearing Oct. 14 on the proposed annexation of 77 acres of unincorporated Arapahoe County earmarked for the Dry Creek project. But the hearing was canceled that night after Deputy City Manager Wayne Reed announced that Westfield Company, the project's developer, had decided not to move forward.

The project was derailed, according to Reed, because of the additional cost to the developer of required street improvements to Easter and Havana that would bring the major arteries into compliance with city standards.

Reed explained that Westfield had initiated the annexation request because the developer's master plan required access to both Easter and Havana, streets that fall within the city's current boundaries.

In order to make the required street improvements, Westfield reportedly had sought financial concessions from the property owner, and the owner had balked at the additional project costs.

Representatives from Westfield did not attend this week's city council meeting nor did they respond to telephone messages seeking comment on their decision to back away from the project.

Earlier this month, City Attorney Robert Widner received a letter from the developer notifying city officials that the annexation request was being withdrawn, and at the Oct. 14 regular city council session, he told council members that because Westfield had withdrawn its annexation petition, the city council no longer had jurisdiction to rule over the proposed annexation.

City officials, including members of the council, appeared somewhat frustrated by the sudden collapse of the Dry Creek project.

Reed said a significant amount of staff time and energy has been put into the annexation proposal. “The city has been in negotiations with the developer for the past six weeks,” he said.

At a public hearing held Sept. 25, the Centennial Planning and Zoning Commission gave unanimous approval to an Initial Zoning Plan for the Dry Creek Corporate Center.

Westfield had petitioned the city to annex the property as part of an ambitious master plan to build a sprawling, mixed-use development that could have included up to 2.4 million square feet of low- to mid-rise office space.

“We always want good development and a cooperative partnership between owners, developers and the city,” said Mayor Cathy Noon.

“Sometimes, people start down a path and then the path changes,” Noon added. “In this case, there was a large transportation project — improvements to the city's streets — attached to it and the pieces just didn't come together. Who knows what's going to happen in the future?”