Tony DeSimone and Confluence Companies are changing the face of Douglas County, for the better.
Downtown has had quite the transformation. Even by the high expectations of those involved with the project, Riverwalk and Encore have been an unparalleled success. We wanted to talk with the man behind the vision and see how he feels about the project looking back. Enter Tony DeSimone.
DeSimone: We’ve found success developing mixed-use projects, where we bring in a residential component and the residential component helps subsidize the restaurant space in the retail to make it affordable to attract the right retail and restaurateurs. The new
buildings will help keep more people coming to downtown and spending time there.
My wife and her family has a long history in Castle Rock and Douglas County. Some of the family dates all the way back into the 1860’s when they homesteaded in Castlewood Canyon. I was introduced to Colorado in the Army after graduating from West Point. I was stationed at Fort Carson as my first assignment. I just loved Colorado. I would meet in Castle Rock to take my wife on dates back in the ‘90s. At the time, the town struck me as a charming town. When we left the military in 2005 and we actually moved to Castle Rock and raised our children in the town.
Not much had changed and I think what we realized is that it had a lot of potential. What concerned me as new developments started happening outside the downtown quarter was it was taking people away and we started to see business dying.
At the time we were developing all over Colorado. I approached my business partners Tim and Matt and talked to them about the opportunites here. And so we started to meet with the people in town. We mapped the town and looked at all the land at how we could make the biggest impact. We looked at what we thought downtown was needing, which really, everybody wanted more restaurants and people wanted places to work. Castle Rock staff and council were eager to make changes in their downtown but things hadn't started happening yet. We got involved in 2015 to make that impact. I feel like we had a good pulse on the local maket just living in the area. Once it was built it was a huge success. People were speaking with thier wallets coming out and spending money, going to the restaurants, wanting to be downtown. I think the thing that it’s really done is created walkablility in the suburbs. I think there's a growing segment that really wants that walkability and convenience of all these things. So, I think that's been a huge success to be able to deliver that.
The Town and the DDA put out a survey of things and they asked residents what they wanted to see in downtown. Number one on their list was restaurants.
The goal was really to give people a reason to come downtown. We really worked hard to get high quailty restaurants. That was a main driver; we made sure we had space for them in the project.
One of the things we're kind of proud of at Riverwalk is we have 60 people that live in the building that live and work downtown which means they're walking to work.
It has even exceeded our expectations, to be honest with you. I think we knew it would be successful; what’s really caught fire is it's become a community within a community. Again, that's what wer’e proud of. There's a ton of pride in being there and working there.I think we knew there was a need but I think where it's evolved to has exceeded our expectations.
I feel a lot of responsibilty to do a good job just because of my wife’s family history there, and we're in the community. We want to be proud when show up to our building and our communities. What’s so great working with these small towns like Castle Rock and Parker: everybody is kind of rowing the same direction. They understand where they’re trying to go and then everybody is working to do the best they can.
We are working on an extension of Riverwalk. As mixed-use it has 28 apartment units above, and then we’ll deliver two new restaurants to downtown. One is a burger and burboun concept and the other one is a Ramen restaurant. Level two in that building will be all office space that we’re selling to business owners in town. And then across the highway we own the former Acme brick plant that is a 31-acre site. We’re working with the Town to rezone that. What we’re planning there is a $67 million recreational facility. It’s a little bit of a mix of uses with a hotel, a higher service, 120 key hotel. We’ll have some office space and then about 500 residential units on site.
To see what comes next and the progress of the projectas a whole please visit www.confluenceco.com/real-estate-development.