- Manage and maintain the property previously operated as an airport,
- Identify and implement a plan for disposition of the property and
- Establish other programs and organizations required to facilitate the disposition and development of the property consistent with the Stapleton Development Plan.
In November 1995, the City and the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) signed a cooperation agreement to create the private, non-profit Stapleton Development Corporation (SDC) as a vehicle to lease and sell Stapleton property. SDC has 11 voting directors. DURA appoints two directors and the Mayor of Denver appoints nine. Denver City Council must confirm all eleven directors. There are five additional ex-officio directors - the Manager of Aviation, the City Council member whose district includes the property, a member of the Citizens Advisory Board and two persons representing Commerce City and Aurora.
SDC was created to serve as the primary vehicle for selling and leasing Stapleton and entered into a Master Lease and Disposition Agreement (MLD) with the City in July 1998. The MLD gives SDC the responsibility to maintain and lease Stapleton for 15 years, an option to purchase the property, and the authority to sell parcels for uses consistent with the Stapleton Development Plan.
This MLD was amended in 1999 to reflect revisions necessitated by the FAA and an agreement with the airlines. The airline agreement settled a dispute the airlines filed with the FAA and, among other things, provided for agreed upon sources of funding to pay certain costs associated with environmental remediation, demolition, and other disposition costs. Additional amendments to the MLD are anticipated so that it will conform to the purchase agreement between SDC and Forest City, the master developer.
After entertaining proposals to develop the remaining land at Stapleton, the SDC conducted a competitive process in 1998 to select a master developer. SDC chose this approach for several reasons. A master developer for the entire parcel would promote development over time of the entire parcel, not just its edges. In November 1998, SDC selected Forest City Enterprises, Inc., a family owned and publicly traded business with a commitment to mixed-use urban infill projects, to be its development partner. Forest City offered experience in all aspects of development, access to capital, and national marketing expertise, as well as a commitment to affordable housing, sustainable development, minority participation, and other principles of the Stapleton Development Plan.
Forest City entered into an Exclusive Right to Negotiate with SDC for the purchase of Stapleton. SDC and Forest City finalized a purchase agreement that obligates Forest City to buy all developable land at Stapleton. As a condition of selling the balance of the Stapleton property to a master developer, the Denver Department of Aviation committed to selling property that was environmentally remediated, substantially demolished, and zoned for redevelopment. These commitments, along with additional understandings regarding future financing of infrastructure development on the site, are intended to be included in a new set of Master Lease and Development Agreements between the City and SDC. These amendments require City Council approval.