Prairie Gateway: A momumental development

With the start of construction on the new stadium and sports park complex at Prairie Gateway, Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) and Commerce City have also embarked on a massive development project that will transform the area.

The stadium and sports park cover 360 acres of a nearly 1,000-acre development, located nine miles northeast of downtown Denver near the intersection of Interstate 70 and Quebec Street. The development will include the stadium, 24 playing fields, the new Commerce City civic center, the new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visitors' center, and land that will be used for commercial, retail and housing development. Additionally, open space and conservation areas will surround parts of the site and civic areas.

Prairie Gateway, bounded on the west by Quebec Street, on the east by the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge, on the north by Highway 2 and on the south by 56th Avenue, is a $130 million project financed by a unique public-private partnership that will not require tax increases for Commerce City residents.

Commerce City voters approved a $65 million bond sale that is contributing to significant infrastructure improvements, including on-site road construction, installation of water and sewer lines and the planting of thousands of trees. Already underway is the widening of Quebec Street between 47th Avenue and Highway 2, while other road projects will include the widening of 56th Avenue from Quebec to Central Park Boulevard. These improvements are included in the overall budget.

KSE has committed a minimum of $20 million to construction of the stadium and part of the 56th Avenue improvements. KSE has also guaranteed approximately $45 million in bonds. KSE's investment in both equity contribution and guaranteed bonds accounts for half of the total project cost, with the Commerce City bonds accounting for the other half. Additional contributors include Great Outdoors Colorado and Adams County Open Space which have provided $1.2 million for land purchase.

The Fish and Wildlife visitors' center will serve as entry to the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge and will house offices, a conference center and environmental education resources. Commerce City's civic center will house the offices of the mayor and city manager, city council chambers, and the departments of finance, and community planning and development services.

While the stadium will be home to Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids and many high-profile soccer matches of both international and national interest, the Prairie Gateway complex will also be a first-class lacrosse venue and will be the center of both youth soccer and lacrosse in Colorado.

The National Lacrosse League's Colorado Mammoth, a KSE-owned team that calls Pepsi Center home, will use the new facility for team purposes and to foster an increasing level of growth and interest in the sport of lacrosse, including clinics and camps for young players.

Additionally, the National Development Program, which helps high school lacrosse players find the collegiate program best for them, will hold clinics for coaches and players, recruiting seminars, skills evaluations and both its West Regional and National tournaments at Prairie Gateway.

The Rapids will hold player camps and clinics at the site as well and many of the area's youth soccer associations are expected to use the fields for tournaments, practices, games and camps.