Client:  City of Thornton (CO)

The City of Thornton, a rapidly growing northern suburb of Denver that has been adding more than 1,000 housing units per year over the past 15 years, retained GG+A to assess whether its 960 acres of land allocated for employment land use designations adjoining I-25 and E-470 in north Thornton (the last and largest remaining contiguous block of developable nonresidential land in the community) is an appropriate allocation for office and industrial uses. Thornton has a large surplus of resident labor relative to the number of jobs located in the community, and desired to shift that ratio; however, the City was experiencing strong pressures to allow rezonings of this land to permit greater multifamily and single-family residential development. After significant market and economic research, including extensive outreach to the development and brokerage community, GG+A concluded that in order to maintain a competitive functioning land market without inducing land costs to escalate so as to serve as disincentives to businesses to locate in Thornton, to provide the potential to develop a sufficient inventory of building space, and to not worsen but instead to improve the weak job-housing balance, all of the land currently designated for Employment Center and Regional Commercial uses should be reserved for the development of office and industrial uses in the North Washington Subarea. This conclusion was supported by the City Council in July 2016. GG+A also provided guidance on the future mix of uses and scale of development that should be encouraged by City policy on a large adjoining 220-acre parcel which previously had been proposed for a high density “urban village” that was recognized to be misaligned with market conditions and realistic economic and housing development opportunities applicable to the site.

A copy of the Final Report can found in a planning session packet on the City’s website:  “The Market for Office and Industrial Uses in the North Washington Subarea”