Denver's  Regional Transportation District says it will add a new station to its East Rail Line, which will open in the spring of 2016. The line will connect Denver Union Station with Denver International Airport.

The Peña Boulevard Station, located at 61st Avenue and Peña Boulevard, will be the sixth eastbound stop on the trip from Denver Union Station to the airport. The travel time from downtown to DIA will be 37 minutes, with trains running every 15 minutes during peak times. The travel time from 61st and Peña to DIA will be approximately five minutes.

The station will include a train platform, public plaza and an 800-car parking lot funded and operated by DIA. The station will be accessible from Tower Road and will serve as the catalyst for a 400-acre transit-oriented development called “Peña Station,” strategically located near DIA.

“The new station provides a convenient access point into RTD’s regional rail system for commuters and other riders from the growing northeast metro area,” said David Genova, RTD’s interim general manager and CEO. “This improvement would not have been possible without our long-term partnership with Denver, its airport team and the landowners, who worked together to create an asset that will significantly benefit the region.”

The transit-oriented development is planned as a sustainable, mixed-use development of office, hotel, retail, multifamily, health care and commercial real estate. This master-planned, mixed-use transit community is bordered on the south and west by permanent open space. It will have direct access to the hiking and biking trails of the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge to the west via a pedestrian trail below Peña Boulevard.

“The transit-oriented development at Peña Boulevard Station validates the mayor’s vision of an aerotropolis: the airport serving as a catalyst for regional economic development around its perimeter,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “Airports around the world are increasingly using development opportunities to enhance the economic benefits to their airports and their communities, and while many are ahead of us, we are now well on our way.”

As a result of the new station and corresponding community development, transit officials say the northeast metro community will experience numerous benefits, including:

• Improved public transit and regional access.

• Additional workforce housing in proximity to the northeast metro area’s two longest employment centers, DIA and Fitzsimons.

• Significant employment opportunities in proximity to the surrounding residential areas.

• Additional amenities for surrounding Denver communities: parks and open space, public plaza and trails—including access to the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge and Open Space west of Peña Boulevard.

At Peña Boulevard Station, four property owners, including DIA and L.C. Fulenwider Inc., jointly planned and entitled their properties. They also agreed to an overall finance plan to fund the initial infrastructure. Fulenwider will act as lead developer for the TOD.

The first tenant of the development will be the 112,000-sq-ft headquarters facility for Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co. With Panasonic’s involvement, Peña Station will be developed as a global showcase of public-private development. Developers say it is designed to be a smart, sustainable community that reflects the live-work-play community envisioned by Mayor Hancock for the“Corridor of Opportunity” between DIA and downtown.

The community, developed in partnership with Panasonic, will be patterned after Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town, which it developed in Japan. The Sustainable Smart Town aspires to blend nature and cutting-edge technology into an “eco and smart” lifestyle.

“This rail stop, anchored by the Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Co.’s headquarters facility, will create a smart, sustainable TOD that will set the stage for the next generation of transit-oriented developments in North America,” said Cal Fulenwider, president of L.C. Fulenwider Inc.

Work on the Peña Boulevard Station is underway and will be complete for the opening of the East Rail Line in spring 2016. Construction of the Panasonic facility will begin in October and will be complete by the end of 2016.