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April 13, 2024
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Construction Underway at 3.9 msf Industrial Development in Aurora, CO


Construction is underway at Sun Empire, a 3.9 msf industrial development in Aurora, CO, near Denver International Airport. The project is a joint venture between The Opus Group and Principal Real Estate Investors, which together acquired the 316 acres of land seven months ago. Phase One will include two Class A buildings—one sized 624.5k sf and one sized 204.5k sf, with both buildings available for occupancy in the first quarter of 2024.

Image: Dark Roast Media
Image: Dark Roast Media
The project has up to 1.4 msf of speculative buildings available for lease, build-to-suit for lease or sale, and user-land sale. The first two buildings will both have dock-level and drive-in loading with more than 140 trailer parking spaces and 660 car parking spaces between the two properties.

Building 1A, which is the larger building, is a cross-dock design that is divisible to 156.1k sf. Building 1B is a rear-load design with parking in the front and is divisible to 51.1k sf. Alternatively, either building can be leased to a single tenant. Additionally, there are amenities incorporated into the speculative designs from the start, including office suites and dock levelers.

Sun Empire is located at East 56th Ave. and Harvest Rd in Aurora. It is a five-minute drive from Denver International Airport, two minutes from E-470, eight minutes from I-70 and approximately 25 minutes from downtown Denver. More than 30,000 new homes are planned in the vicinity with a surrounding workforce of 60,000 transportation and warehouse workers.

The first phase of construction is taking place at the northwest corner of the property, leveraging access to existing utilities and infrastructure already in place. Later phases, which can still be influenced by tenant preference, can accommodate building sizes ranging from 200k sf to 1 msf. Each building in the park is slated to include substantial trailer and car parking, as well as dock and drive-in loading.

CBRE’s Todd Witty, SIOR, and Daniel Close are marketing Sun Empire for lease, sale and build-to-suit development.

“Rising interest rates have pushed some real estate investors to the sidelines and forced them to hit the pause button on new development. 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. 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,” said Witty.

Total availability of industrial real estate in metro Denver decreased 30 basis points year-over-year to close out 2022 at 7.2%, according to CBRE research. This is approaching the market’s record low of 6.4¬% availability, set in 2014. Persistent tenant demand, strong leasing activity and a slowdown in construction starts point to further availability rate compression in the coming quarters.

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