New industrial park under construction near DIA in Aurora

A 3.9 million-square-foot industrial park is now under construction in Aurora as the newest neighbor to Denver International Airport.

The Sun Empire development sits at East 56th Avenue and Harvest Road. The first phase of construction will span 826,300-square-feet across two buildings at the site’s northwest corner, with the building scheduled to open to occupants early next year.

The groundbreaking, which took place at the end of last month, follows last year’s land purchase of $49.7 million in July.

The Opus Group – a self-described family of commercial real estate development, construction and design companies – and Principal Real Estate Investors bought the site from a private seller. The former is wearing many hats in this venture, serving as developer, design-builder, architect and structural engineer of the 3.9 million-square-foot industrial development.

The project could result in up to 1.4 million-square-feet of industrial space for lease or sale.

More than 30,000 new houses are planned in the vicinity to accommodate a labor force of 60,000 transportation and warehouse workers, according to a news release by commercial real estate services firm CBRE.

“Rising interest rates have pushed some real estate investors to the sidelines and forced them to hit the pause button on new development,” said CBRE’s Todd Witty. “Elevated tenant demand in metro Denver’s industrial market and a slowdown in construction starts will further limit supply, making it harder for tenants to get the space they need within their desired timeframe.”

In the last quarter of 2022, construction activity fell about 2% quarter-over-quarter, with 8.7 million-square-feet under construction, CBRE reported. The availability of industrial space narrowed, while tenant demand remained steady.

“Sun Empire’s speed-to-market is a key differentiator as those looking for industrial real estate in greater Denver need the space as soon as possible,” Witty added.

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