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A proposed $72 million development that would bring condominiums, office space, retail and both public and private parking to the heart of downtown Castle Rock gained momentum after both the town council and the Downtown Development Authority recommended the town continue negotiating an economic incentive package with the developer.
The project kick-started in June when the town requested proposals to develop the town-owned public parking lot south of town hall. The lot is neighbored by three businesses — Castle Rock Liquors, Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center and a Meineke Car Care Center.
Castle Brae Development, a Centennial-based company led by long-time Castle Rock resident Tom Kahn, responded with a plan to build condos where those businesses now stand.
Early in discussions, Kahn said, the town and Castle Brae saw an opportunity to use public/private partnership as a way to deliver more public parking to the district.
The latest project proposal would mean leveling the existing business and replacing them with a building that spans from Wilcox to Perry Street, bordering South Street. A plaza would fill the space between the Festival Park Commons structure and town hall.
Overall, the plan includes 22,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space, 93 condominiums, 125 private parking spaces, 59 parking spots for the office and retail spaces, and over 300 public parking spots.
Kahn said he wants condos to serve a range of buyers, from millennials to downsizing baby boomers. On the lower end, condos might cost between $300,000 and $375,000. At the high end, upward of $600,000.
“There's a huge demand for condos,” Kahn said. “They're becoming the affordable housing.”
A preliminary project proposal says all three businesses located on the site are under contract.
Owners of Castle Rock Liquors and Meineke Car Care Center could not be reached for comment. The owner of Rocky Mountain Oil Change Center was not immediately available.
The public parking may be one of the largest draws for the town, but there's more to the deal, said Kevin Tilson, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, the partnership between the DDA and the Downtown Merchants Association. Castle Brae has committed $900,000 toward instating a railroad quiet zone in the area.
Town Manager David Corliss said in the April 5 Downtown Development Authority meeting the town estimated the cost of doing so on its own was approximately $850,000.
Corliss has been adamant the Festival Park Commons proposal hinges on the development's ability to pay for the public parking through tax increment financing, but that early numbers are promising.
Although Kahn said the potential financial package is still a “moving target,” it will draw on tools like tax increment financing and public improvement fees, also used to finance projects like Miller's Landing.
“We think we're very close to being able to recommend something,” Corliss told DDA members, who ultimately threw support behind furthering negotiations.
Town councilmembers were positive but short in their comments on the project during their April 3 meeting. Council began the night with two executive sessions, one to advise negotiators involved in the potential economic incentive package for the project.
“Planned development calls for projects like this. In fact, this is kind of a dream project,” Tilson told councilmembers April 3 during public discussion of the project.
The Festival Park Commons would follow up trends set by the rising Riverwalk development or the redesigned Festival Park, part of an on-going effort to revitalize the downtown core.
“Golden had this downtown revitalization maybe 10 or 15 years ago and I think Castle Rock is on the same trend,” Kahn said.
Pending negotiations, the town's next steps will be forming and considering a redevelopment agreement for Festival Park Commons. If all goes to plan, Kahn said, they'll produce full engineering and architectural plans this spring, and start construction this year.
“This is the right time,” Kahn said, “for Castle Rock to have this project.”
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