By Eric Heinz
Silver shovels were ceremoniously plunged into the first piles of dirt at the future site of the Fox Park development in Globeville.
The development, the construction of which is expected to take place over the next 10 years or so, is planned to be a mixed-use urban hub with an estimated 3,300 units for up to 6,000 people to call home, in addition to 34,000 square feet of retail, 80,000 square feet of culture and entertainment facilities, 14 acres of interconnected parks and open space, and other amenities.
“In the master plan around this area, we wanted to bring in open spaces, green spaces, gardens, and we wanted to bring that area to the Globeville neighborhood and to the new developments to make it a benchmark for future developments,” Jose Carredano, a principal and Fox Park project director, said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
The developers announced last year that the World Trade Center’s headquarters would be the flagship tenant of Fox Park.
In the middle of the ceremony, attendees were shown a surprise video message from Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson, who announced a new 241-room hotel that would be located within the middle of the development.
“I look forward to celebrating the grand opening on the Virgin Hotel at Fox Park rooftop overlooking Denver’s wonderful skyline soon,” Branson said.
Branson said this is Virgin’s first property in Colorado.
Before Fox Park can get started on development, it must finish a remedial cleanup of the EPA superfund site within the property.
A community advisory group established under the EPA’s cleanup program hosted a meeting in September to give an update of those efforts, which have already begun.
Fox Park has already done testing on soil and groundwater samples, but it must get final approval from the agency before continuing.
Toxic metals and chemicals have been identified in the Fox Park site from a smelting plant that operated near the beginning of the 20th century at the same location.
The cleanup process is expected to take place through August of next year, and then the EPA will need to issue a “record of decision” to determine whether the soil is safe.