80010: Aurora ZIP claims first Stapleton addresses as change moves across the border

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AURORA | Like many other Stapleton homes, the swank new houses along East 26th Avenue boast the amenities you’d expect from a new build.

There are the shiny hardwood floors, sleek granite counter tops and eye-catching goose-neck fountains.  But this particular group of recently-completed Stapleton homes have something brand new to the redevelopment of the old airport: Aurora addresses.

Forest City Realty Trust, Inc., the developer behind the project, announced last week that the new Bluff Lake neighborhood — Stapleton’s first on the Aurora side of the project — welcomed its first eight families.

The Aurora neighborhood runs 10 blocks east from Fulton Street along the 26th Avenue corridor until about Peoria Street.

Tom Gleason, a spokesman for Forest City, said there are 322 homes planned for the neighborhood and already builders have purchased 232 of those home sites.

Of those, Gleason said 127 are under contract 17 have already closed, meaning the new residents either have moved in or they can.

The mix of homes on the Aurora side — which include duplexes and single-family homes costing upwards of $500,000 — look similar to the homes on the Denver side of Stapleton. So similar, in fact, that drivers heading east on 26th likely wouldn’t notice they have crossed from one city to the other.

Gleason said Forest City has strived for that seamless transition from Denver to Aurora.

“That has been the goal from the very beginning,” he said.

While the bulk of the project is residential, Gleason said developers have been in talks with hotels looking to build on the Aurora neighborhood’s eastern edge. That stretch of land, which buts up to Peoria Street, sits just across the street from the booming Anschutz Medical Campus.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said in a statement announcing the completion of the Aurora homes that the residential project is a welcome addition to a rapidly-changing corner of the city.

“There is so much exciting new development taking place in this part of Aurora and these new residents will be in the heart of it all,” he said.

The new homes sit just a few blocks from Stanley Marketplace, which opened last year at East 25th Avenue and Dallas Street with restaurants and shops to rave reviews.

Clinton Whatley 33, moved into his new home on the Aurora side of Stapleton with wife and two kids, this spring.

He said the new attractions — including Stanley and the Nourish Food Co-op that is being developed — were big draws for his family.

Plus, Whatley said, because he works in Aurora, having a home on this side of Stapleton is a good fit.

Mike Long, 60, said he had his eye on a home on Stapleton’s eastern edge for quite some time because it offered an unimpeded view of Downtown Denver and the mountains to the west. He said he “stalked” a particular lot and he made regular calls to the developers until his dream lot opened up.

As for living on Aurora side instead of the Denver side, Long said he didn’t care, so long as his home had that westerly view.

“It made no difference to us at all,” he said.