Being smarter about how we use natural resources is in our DNA. We’ve set new standards for redevelopment by recycling an entire international airport – a very large tract of land surrounded by city neighborhoods. We’re repurposing the land (the “hole in the doughnut”) and reintegrating it into the fabric of the city. Along the way, we’ve crushed over 6 million tons of runway concrete and turned it into “Staplestone,” an aggregate used to build roadways, bridges and bike paths in Stapleton and throughout Colorado. And today we continue to adopt environmentally friendly strategies. We’ve selected only water-wise, native plants for our landscaping, and we’ve designed greenways to clean storm water and provide thriving wildlife habitats.
Take Westerly Creek, for example. During the airport era, this creek was confined to a pipe under the runways. But today it’s an ecological showcase: a rich, green riparian corridor winding through the heart of the community. Home to all kinds of wildlife. Part of a sophisticated storm water runoff filtration system. And popular recreational destination for the human community, too, with its miles of scenic walking and biking paths.
Perhaps the biggest impact of all (or smallest, depending on how you look at it) derives from the fact that every home in Stapleton is Energy Star® qualified. This means that every Stapleton home consumes at least 30% less energy than the average new Denver home. Quite a few new homes in Stapleton are almost 70% more efficient, and some super-efficient homes are even net-zero energy users (which means they generate as much energy as they use). So you have many options when it comes to lowering utility bills and reducing your carbon footprint. The same is true for commercial enterprises: several commercial buildings in Stapleton are designed to LEED® standards for energy-efficiency, water conservation and indoor air quality. It’s just good business.
Stapleton is not only leading the way environmentally but economically and socially, too. The community is an integrated mix of uses, including several retail districts, professional office spaces, light manufacturing and neighborhoods featuring every type of new home. Everything in one place. That’s the big idea. Stapleton businesses have access to employees, kids have access to great schools and everyone has easy access to shopping and recreation without getting in a car.
High on the list of Stapleton’s key objectives are social equity, diversity and opportunity. To help meet these objectives, the planners have included a wide range of housing types, densities and price points – beginning with an attractive selection of affordable homes and spanning the spectrum through the middle range of family homes, townhomes and condominiums to the high end with its semi-custom homes and urban estates. Why such a broad range? Because different home types bring together people of different backgrounds, incomes and life stages, creating a stronger, more productive and more interesting social fabric. The place becomes more . . . neighborly.
In other words, people in Stapleton look out for each other. An older couple takes care of a young professional’s dog while she’s at work. The teenager next door earns some babysitting money. And parents don’t schedule play dates for their kids; they merely open the front door.
Mix all of these things together, and you have the makings of a strong community -- environmentally, economically and socially. And a place of lasting value for future generations.
The real proof has come in this uncertain economy and real estate market. The research firm Hanley Wood has ranked Stapleton the #1 new-home community in metro Denver for the last few years. Over 30% of Stapleton’s new home sales in 2009 came from existing Stapleton residents who, instead of moving out, decided simply to move up within their community.