Catalyst Stories

Change-maker projects catalyzing development

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center

Ballroom in Gaylord Rockies, photo courtesy of the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center

Gaylord hotels in other cities are known as destinations, catalyzing development at incredible levels and transforming the areas around them. In 2018, the massive 1,501 hotel room and 1.9 million square foot Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center opened its doors in Aurora. Outside of the resort’s walls, the impact has been felt on the surrounding area with the significant development momentum that has been being created.  Businesses recognize the value of being close to the Gaylord Rockies. Kärcher for example cited this as a reason for locating its North America headquarters just down the road.  Ancillary development including hotels and other amenities has sprung up.  Aurora’s “Golden Mile”, E. 64th. Ave between Denver International Airport and the Gaylord Rockies is slated for improvements which will majorly catalyze commercial development and engage the thousands of vehicles that will travel the route. 

Ultimately, the Gaylord Rockies choosing the open plains in northeast Aurora shocked many.  Nearby Denver International Airport was once also considered far away from major development.  But as development has progressed to the east in the Metro area, its easy to see how the Gaylord Rockies choosing this location was visionary.  It towers on the horizon as a true economic development catalyst.  

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center

Amazon Sortation and Fulfillment Centers

Amazon Fulfillment Center, Aurora Colorado

Before the COVID-19 global pandemic exploded e-commerce activity, consumer preferences to shop online and receive products ASAP were already dominating the market. Amazon facilities now dot the landscape across the United States, but Aurora was home to the first two facilities in Colorado.  The sortation center that opened in 2016 was Amazon’s first foray in the state.  The company liked the development experience so much in Aurora that it came back for a second facility – a million square foot fulfillment center.  

When Amazon comes on the scene, everyone takes notice.  Our ample developable land, development experience that delivers predictability and efficiency, and high-quality talent have attracted countless logistics and distribution companies in our industrial and e-commerce corridor.  Post-Amazon, we’ve seen record-level industrial development in the area in part because these deals put Aurora on the map.

Sites and Maps

Kärcher North America Headquarters

Kärcher North America Headquarters in Aurora, Colorado

Kärcher is the world’s leading provider of efficient, resource-conserving cleaning systems.  We partnered with Kärcher to create a new home for its North America Headquarters, a 23-acre site with a new 380,000-square foot-facility in Porteos near Denver International Airport and the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center.  This project was a big deal for Aurora and Adams County as not only a well-known, international company but also a corporate headquarters.  It’s been a signal to the business community that Aurora is a global destination for international companies to grow because of the connectivity the city has to offer.  


Stanley Marketplace

Photo courtesy of Stanley Marketplace

Stanley Marketplace is a story of transformation and repurposing of a facility from Aurora’s past to create a destination today.  The incredibly popular market sits on the site of what used to be Stanley Aviation which was just off the runway of Denver’s original airport.  The manufacturing and aviation tech testing facility grew to 140,000 square feet in the 1950’s.  With the vision Flightline Ventures, a first-time developer, extensive renovations began in 2014 and the market opened in 2016.  Today, about 50 independently-owned Colorado businesses are located at the Stanley Marketplace.  Boutique shops, world-class restaurants and breweries (including a James Beard nominee), and a cutting-edge zero-waste market all call it home.  It has become an entertainment and cultural destination for the entire Metro area, featuring concerts, art exhibits and festivals, and all sorts of other events that engage the community.  It has also breathed new life into Aurora’s Ward I, attracting attention from other companies that want to be near Stanley Marketplace’s bustle and energy.  

Stanley Marketplace

Colorado Air and Space Port and Port Colorado

Dave Ruppel, CASP Director speaking at the 2019 Summer Showcase event, photo courtesy of Adams County

In August 2018, the FAA gave its final approval for the Colorado Air and Space Port (CASP) in Adams County.  As the 11th such facility in the nation, CASP will serve as a horizontal launch facility for sub-orbital spaceflight, utilizing FAA-licensed reusable launch vehicles that would take off and land from existing airport runways.  

As excitement has grown around this catalyst and its contribution to the already strong aerospace industry in Colorado, it’s also brought energy and interest to the developable land near it in Adams County and Aurora.  Port Colorado, a 6,500 acre master-planned industrial and commercial park is positioning as an epicenter for distribution, technology, and manufacturing.  It’s in a foreign trade zone, offers access to daily Union Pacific rail service, and developers will have opportunities for through-the-fence agreements with Colorado Air & Space Port.

Port Colorado

Colorado Air and Space Port