Elitch Gardens ‘not going away anytime soon,’ owner says

The owners of Elitch Gardens think added density nearby the Denver amusement park would be good.
2 min. read
Elitch Gardens at sunset. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) elitch gardens; sunset; amusement park; fun; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty

Elitch Gardens at sunset. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

There are enough rumors about what's next for the chunk of downtown that holds the Pepsi Center and Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park to fill the nearly 1,800 parking spaces within the property.

Denver officials are in the middle of coming up with a plan for the area that could include zoning changes that allow for new mixed-use towers in the area near the South Platte River. The owners of Elitch Gardens think added density would be good, said Rhys Duggan, president and CEO of Revesco Properties.

Revesco bought Elitch Gardens in 2015 along with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and Second City Real Estate.

"I read on the internet the other day that Elitch's is closing in December. I'm always the last to know," Duggan quipped Thursday at a community meeting on the Downtown Area Plan.

"First and foremost, the park is not going away anytime soon," he said. "We've got 17 acres of parking around the amusement park. That's our focus. What do we do with that?"

Community feedback suggests they build and they build up — possibly higher than 30 stories in some spots. A steering committee and public comments call for raising the profile of the waterfront, creating a mixed-use community that connects seamlessly to downtown and adding affordable housing to the area.

"It makes sense to add density where density makes sense. For me, that's close to downtown and close to amenities. Close to where people work. Close to light rail."

The plan Denver is working on includes the area located between Auraria Parkway and Speer Boulevard that holds some of the most visited attractions in Denver including the Children's Museum of Denver, the Downtown Aquarium and the Pepsi Center.

Missouri billionaire Stanley Kroenke operates the 18-year-old Pepsi Center via Kroenke Sports and Entertainment. The Denver-based company also owns and operates Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at [email protected] or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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