Developers unveil plans near I-25 in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN – The quiet fields surrounding the interchange of Interstate 25 and Colorado Highway 402 are about to get very noisy.

Two developers are in the planning stages of building multi-use projects on the eastern side of the interchange.

J.D. Padilla, president of Post Modern Development Inc. of Fort Collins, plans to develop 35 acres on the northeast corner of the interchange. Padilla hopes to build space for office, warehouse and commercial or retail users. He said he has heard from numerous interested parties who are looking for interstate access.

“The amount of square feet will depend on the users,” Padilla said. “I am hoping for a c-store, or biotech and maybe a hotel. Basically we will offer all types of basic commercial and retail options.”

The land is in the final annexation process and Padilla hopes to break ground on his un-named project within the calendar year.

“I am looking forward to doing this project and the town administrator and planner are more there to help understand the town’s master plan instead of hinder the projects,” he said.

The town of Johnstown is on the cusp of a major growth spurt and has developed a preliminary plat design guide to help large projects like Padilla’s – or the mixed-use 2534 project a short distance to the north – successfully make it through the town’s planning process.

The design guide “is a booklet to help developers and allows us to have a 45-day preliminary plat and final plat process so the projects can get through building and zoning and on to town board meetings,´ said John Franklin, Johnstown’s chief planner.

On the southeast corner of the I-25 and Colorado 402 interchange, R&D Development is seeking final approval from the Johnstown Board of Trustees. The group is developing 255 acres into a multi-use development, which includes single-family and multi-family housing.

Roy Mason, manager of R&D Development, said plans call for 100 acres of the property to be developed into commercial and retail, 26 acres of light industrial to act as a buffer between the property and an existing cement block plant. The remaining 125 acres will be developed into 320 single-family lots and 292 multi-family units.

“A number of people have been interested in our single-family homes which will probably start in the $300s,” Mason said. “An example of our design can be seen at our Country Estates development in Broomfield. The houses down there now sell for $500,00 to $1 million.”

The multi-family housing will range from patio homes, town homes and possibly apartments.

The I-25-Colorado 402 interchange is not the only active area along I-25 in Johnstown. Great Plains Village is under development at the intersection of the I-25 Frontage Road and Weld County Road 50, just north of the I-25-Colorado Highway 60 interchange.

Tom Peterson, broker with Stanford Real Estate, is helping usher the project through the planning process in Johnstown. Peterson said he anticipates the development’s 70 acres of office, commercial and light industrial will attract people who want interstate land without being immediately adjacent to an exit.

“It is exciting to develop a project with this kind of visibility,” Peterson said.

The eastern half of the project will include multi-family housing, which Peterson said would probably be built as town homes.

Peterson is also active with Padilla and Post Modern Development and with Chauncey Taylor, owner of Johnson’s Corner. After working in Northern Colorado for 20 years, he predicts growth in Johnstown is following a similar path as its northern neighbor Windsor, which has surged since the mid ’90s.

“The best analogy about the growth of Johnstown is that it is tracking 10 years behind Windsor,” he said. “I definitely think Johnstown is growing and appreciating at a nice clip.”

The first development along I-25 that was annexed into Johnstown was the I-25 Gateway Center, which is in the final stages of its development. Bob Saffell, developer of the center, said his development’s success is based on its convenient location to Denver and to the growing Centerra area in east Loveland.

“We started out with 145 acres and are down to about 21 or 22 acres and over 1,000 employees in the development,” he said.

“We’ve been doing this since 1996 and we bought the land in 1981, which was not a bad move on my part,” Saffell said.

Saffell is not surprised by the level of growth in Johnstown and said the growth of E-470, the toll road that skirts the northeast Denver area, has increased interest in his project.

“This is a commuting community and its location allows people to live in south Denver and work up here,” he said.