By Judith Kohler
The Denver Post
A former homestead will be the site of a residential community in northeast Aurora that the developers say will incorporate the elements of the high prairie and such forward-looking features as energy-efficient buildings and native, more environmentally sustainable vegetation.
The 850-acre development will consist of 16 neighborhoods on a homestead established by Henry and Anna Windler in the late 1800s.
Groundbreaking on the project, which ultimately could include about 5,000 residences, is set for today.
A driving force behind the development is fostering a sense of community through planning neighborhoods with their own characteristics while providing parks, trails and open spaces for gathering places, said Craig Vickers, a principal with Civitas, a Denver-based firm of urban designers, architects and landscape architects.
Civitas is working closely with Alberta Development Partners, developer Chris Fellows, PCS
Group, Superbloom, and Olsson on the Windler project.
Civitas and Alberta Development are also involved in the nearby Painted Prairie development.
The Windler site is a few miles south and west of Denver International Airport.
It is bounded by E-470 on the west, 56th Avenue on the north and 48th Avenue on the south, with a small portion a little farther south.
Two silos and several farm buildings on the land will be renovated, Vickers said. Superbloom, a Denver landscape architecture firm, is designing a 10-acre park that will include orchards, food production, restored grasslands, a farm-to-table restaurant and an agricultural education center.
“We’re designing the community around the park,” Vickers said.
“The inspiration for Windler is to bring back a sense of old-fashioned, life-living-off-the-prairie and blend it with the modern American lifestyle,” Don Provost, the founding principal of Alberta Development, said in a statement.
Kelly Walls, an urban designer at Civitas, said the mix of housing in each neighborhood will be diverse.
“We’re not going to parcel out a single-family section and an attached section. It’s all going to be integrated into each one of the 16 neighborhoods,” Walls added. “We’ll be offering a minimum of six different building types.”
The number of residential units in each neighborhood will range from 200 to 400.
There will be about 150 acres of open space and parks, including “pocket” green spaces on each block.
Plans call for a 4-mile loop of green space around the site and a 1mile loop inside.
Small retail stores, restaurants and perhaps entertainment attractions are expected to be part of the neighborhoods.
Vickers said it is difficult to quote a range of prices for the homes because it will be several years before the development is fully built.
“I will say that by offering all of these diverse product types within each neighborhood, the goal is to provide housing at a variety of different price points, everything from pretty small, compact modern townhomes to larger single-family lots,” Walls said.
The developers will provide 3.5 acres to the Aurora Housing Authority for affordable housing. Builders are expected to offer a variety of housing as rental units.
And homes will be designed to be energy-efficient.