Despite Centennial's vast expanse across the south metro area — the city encompasses roughly 29 square miles and spans about 14 miles end-to-end — very little undeveloped residential land remains within its boundaries.
“Opportunities for 'greenfield' development in the area west of I-25 are limited or nonexistent,” said Michael Gradis, a head city planner for the City of Centennial, referring to development on land that has not been used before.
The dwindling amount of unbuilt residential space in the city includes some lots east of South Parker Road, where larger “estate” homes sell for sometimes $2 million or more, according to Gradis.
Generally, housing in Centennial runs in a “gradient” starting from the northwest corner of Centennial at Orchard Road and South Broadway, near which likely sits the earliest housing stock that was built in what is now Centennial around 1955, Gradis said. Moving farther away from that point, homes appear newer and newer.
One of Centennial's newest neighborhoods is Peakview Village near Centennial Civic Center, the city hall that sits along East Arapahoe Road. The project of about 70 single-family homes on small lots saw completion this summer, Gradis said.
Here's a look at the new neighborhood and how it fits into the history of development in central Centennial.
Peakview Village — a development by Richmond American Homes, a large national builder — is bounded by South Vaughn and South Uvalda streets and East Peakview and Caley avenues.
It sits next to a townhome development, noticeable for its partly brick walls, which were built around 2008, Gradis said.
The typical single-family detached home is ubiquitous in Centennial, but what city staff are finding is that the typical house with a yard and driveway may not be desirable to everyone, Gradis said. And even those who live in Centennial now might not want that kind of home, he added.
The neighborhood near city hall can accommodate empty-nesters who might want a townhome without having to leave their community, for example — or a young adult who may be busy and doesn't want to mow a lawn on the weekend, Gradis said.
A variety of housing stock can “allow them to live in their community in every stage of life,” Gradis said.
The Richmond American neighborhood features low-maintenance living, aimed at those who don't want a large lot. A homeowners association may contract to maintain landscaping in a neighborhood like that, Gradis said.
The broader area north of Centennial's city hall — a wavy sort of rectangle formed by South Potomac and Uvalda streets, and East Caley and Peakview avenues — was typically referred to as within the Cherry Creek Centre, an area envisioned to include different residential developments, according to Gradis.
In that area, all the homes west of South Jordan Road aside from the Algonquin Acres neighborhood were built beginning in the 1990s — except for the new Peakview Village homes and nearby brick townhomes, Gradis said. Algonquin Acres, which started to be built sometime around 1959, features larger-lot homes, a style no longer common locally outside of Cherry Hills Village and Greenwood Village, according to Gradis.
A multifamily development that has not yet begun construction is expected for the vacant lots north of Peakview Avenue tucked between the brick townhomes and the new Richmond American houses. That upcoming for-rent development will feature three-story multifamily buildings with 203 units, Gradis said.
The development has been approved since late 2018, but delays have likely been extended by the pandemic, according to Gradis.
Once construction starts, it'll likely wrap up within about 18 months, Gradis said.
East of city hall sits the Primrose School of Centennial — part of a national system of private preschools — amid more vacant, undeveloped land.
That area doesn't feature any active plans that city staff are reviewing, but the city hopes for and expects some sort of commercial uses that would serve nearby residents, such as offices, restaurants, salons or another day care.
“'Neighborhood services' is what we'd call it,” Gradis said.
“There have been presentations to city council over the years by the property owner or his agents discussing what they'd like to see happen,” said Gradis, adding that the vision has been general so far.
A 2015 study on Arapahoe Road examined the possibilities of neighborhood services on the massive regional thoroughfare, according to Gradis.
The study revealed that “we don't have enough rooftops,” Gradis said. “There aren't enough people in this vicinity to justify building” those types of businesses yet.
The city hopes for a “critical mass” to make it more desirable to a retail builder, he added.
“Typically, how it works is that the residential components of a neighborhood or a community are built first, and the services to serve them follow,” Gradis said.
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