A success in luring businesses, Stanley in Aurora now looks to add apartments to the mix


AURORA | Since the project was announced last year, local leaders have had high hopes for what the new Stanley Marketplace in northwest Aurora could mean for the neighborhood.

A weathered sign marks its territory Sept. 22 at Stanley Aviation. Built in 1954, Stanley Aviation manufactured airplane ejector seats but after years of being abandoned the building will be getting a facelift. The 100,000 square footage will be transformed into a marketplace that will house a restaurant, beer garden, community park, office spaces and a variety of dining, shopping and recreational options. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)Once it opens, the thinking goes, the sprawling retail center in an old aviation building could spur development in a corner of the city that has often been ignored by developers and investors.

Now, several months before Stanley even opens, those hopes are starting to become reality.

Flightline Ventures, the developer behind Stanley, announced plans last week for an apartment complex near the marketplace at 2501 Dallas St. Denver-based Westfield Company, Inc. is building the project.

In addition to building the apartment complex, Westfield has also joined Flightline as half owners of the Stanley Marketplace in a partnership dubbed Stanley JV.

Richard Wham, a partner at Westfield, said Westfield was drawn to the project in part because of the success it has already had, including leasing 100 percent of its space before the doors even open.

“We think this is kind of the direction of the new retail experience,” he said.

The 100,000 square foot shopping district will house close to 50 businesses, including restaurants, retailers, a brewery and others. The opening is slated for late summer.

Some of the businesses who have signed on to the $30 million project include: Endorphin Fitness, Kindness Yoga, Tootsies Nail Shoppe and Logan House Coffee Company.

Wham said Westfield is confident Stanley can be a catalyst for the neighborhood, spurring further growth around the marketplace in an area that hasn’t seen much in recent years.

“Aurora is doing a great job facilitating the transformation of that area,” he said. “And we’re very excited by its transformation.”

Mark Shaker, a partner at Flightline and one of the founders of the project, said the partnership with Westfield is an ideal one.

“Not only does Westfield bring 30 years of development expertise to Stanley Marketplace, but with the addition of an onsite residential component, Westfield ensures that Stanley Marketplace will be an even more prominent destination for locals and visitors alike,” he said in a statement.

FirstBank provided a $15 million loan as part of the joint venture between Flightline Ventures and Westfield.

“We are proud to work with such visionary partners, and play a role in the expansion of Stanley Marketplace and the ongoing transformation of the Stapleton area,” Adam Sands, FirstBank senior vice president for the Denver market, said in a statement.

Wham said the first phase of the apartment project will likely include three- and four-story buildings and about 150 units. Construction should start in 2016, Wham said, but a completion date has not yet been set. The goal, Wham said, is a project with a “cool design at an attainable pricepoint.” The apartments will sit on three acres just south of the marketplace.

As for future phases of the project, Wham said he isn’t yet sure if that will include other residential options like townhomes or condominiums, but he said there is ample space to keep growing the residential component at Stanley.