The category: Neighborhoods rising from former sites of airports and institutions, making use of precious space.
The stats: 12 miles east of downtown Denver; population 5,000 and growing.
The residents: Mike and Elizabeth King (32 and 33). Mike, a lawyer, just made partner. Elizabeth works in management and leadership consulting.
How they got here: They moved from Lincroft, New Jersey, when Mike took a job with a Denver law firm. They wanted to be close to culture, yet be in a neighborhood great for walking. “In New Jersey, we lived in an older, more established neighborhood but didn’t really get to know our neighbors,” says Mike.
Why they’re never leaving: A community-oriented plan with garages on rear alleys and front porches (common traits of many successful towns). The 15-minute commute to downtown Denver. A four-bedroom, three-bath, 2,900-square-foot house across from a pocket park and two blocks from a green-belt. “I imagined that the park was where we would play Wiffle ball and have cookouts with neighbors, and that’s exactly what has happened,” Mike says.
The story behind the burb: When the last jet took off from Stapleton Airport in 1995, a new idea landed: the concept for a 4,700-acre, sustainably oriented community close to downtown Denver. Nearly one-quarter of the land is reserved for parks and open space, and concrete from the runways was recycled into construction. The tree-lined streets are organized around East 29th Avenue Town Center (stores and such), with schools, offices, and parks nearby.
Want in? Housing prices start around $100K and reach more than $1 million for semicustom Urban Estate homes. Currently 1,900 homes and more than 300 apartments are occupied. The goal is to have a community of 8,000 homes and 4,000 apartments in about 15 years. www.stapletondenver.com
Other refurb burbs we love
Bayport Alameda, CA, used to be part of the Alameda Naval Air Station near Oakland. Its houses face common landscaped areas. www.bayportalameda.com
Main Street North in Boulder, CO’s Holiday Neighborhood is a compact enclave of restaurants, shops, and houses where a drive-in movie theater used to operate. www.holidayneighborhood.com
Rivermark in Santa Clara, CA, on the site of a former state hospital, makes density a virtue with pedestrian alleys and a wide array of housing choices. www.rivermark.net
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