When Denver Mayor Benjamin F. Stapleton (1923 - 1947) sought a site for the city's new airport, he chose a site six miles east of Downtown Denver called Sand Creek. At the time, he liked it because it was away from any developed area. In 1928, the purchase of the land was approved by Denver City Council. The total cost of Denver's first municipal airport would top $430,000 when it opened in October 1929. Though the Denver press and certain City Council factions thought the airport a foolish idea, it brought immediate financial success, and at least one famous aviator.
In 1931, Amelia Erhart stopped at Denver Municipal Airport on one of her cross-country escapades and, in 1938, the first control tower became functional. In August 1944, the City finally gave Mayor Stapleton the full recognition he deserved for making the airport one of the best and most used airports in the nation by renaming the facility Stapleton Airfield.
Through the beginnings of the jet age in the 1950s to the addition of international flights in the1960s, Denver neighborhoods encroached ever eastward. By 1985, the airport had grown to 4,700 acres, was surrounded by homes and had become outdated. An agreement was made with citizens groups not to use Stapleton as an airport once a new airport was built for Denver. In 1989, the voters of Colorado approved annexation of land from Adams County for the new site.
Citizens' groups Stapleton's Tomorrow, working on Stapleton Re-use, and Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation, formed as a civic vehicle to work in partnership with the City ../administration, came into being and made significant contributions to the planning process.
The Stapleton Development Plan, affectionately known as The Green Book, was created and established the framework for redeveloping Stapleton. It identified a set of principles to guide development that addressed the economic, environment, and social objectives, as well as the physical design of the community and the methods to manage and implement development over time.
To quote the plan, "The Stapleton site will be a network of urban villages, employment centers and significant open spaces, all linked by a commitment to the protection of natural resources and the development of human resources."
In 1998, Forest City Enterprises was chosen to be the master developer of the former Stapleton airport. Beginning in 1999, Forest City worked with the City of Denver, the Stapleton Development Corporation, the Stapleton Citizens Advisory Board, the Stapleton Foundation and the Denver community, as well as scores of design, financial, and legal experts to make The Green Book become a reality. Forest City purchased the first 270 acres at Stapleton in April 2001 and began the first phase of the 25-year, $5 billion development first envisioned by the Denver community more than 12 years before. The redevelopment itself is called Stapleton, and the master developer is referred to as Forest City Stapleton, Inc.
Stapleton homes inhabit a walkable community of classic city architecture built on a community-oriented plan, and feature garages on rear alleys and front porches. The real estate here has become one of the most attractive and talked about regions in the greater Denver area. Stapleton offers a variety of distinctive residential living choices constructed by a wide variety of homebuilders, many of which offer carriage houses above the garage for use as a guest house, home office, hobby studio or kid's playroom.