DENVER (KDVR) — The second round of bids to purchase the Denver Broncos in what will be the largest sale of a sports team in history are due Monday. A report from Forbes said that Rob Walton, an heir to the Walmart fortune, will win the bid to buy the Denver Broncos for about $4.5 billion.
But what will the new owner need to accomplish ahead of the start of the NFL season this fall? Broncos CEO Joe Ellis said the future of Mile High will be the new owner’s top priority.
“At a high level, it will be the number one decision the new owner will have to make, which is, ‘How are we gonna proceed long term when it comes to the stadium?’” Ellis said during the NFL annual owner’s meeting. “I will tell you this, there is a tremendous real estate opportunity at the south end of the stadium which has a master plan that was at one point approved by the city to move forward and do a significant mixed development of office, retail, housing, possibly a hotel, maybe a small entertainment venue stuff, things along those lines that can really bring some vibrancy to that area.”
Ellis described the future of the stadium as the “big picture issue number one” for new ownership.
“I believe the stadium is in good shape,” Ellis said. “We believe there are some significant upgrades that need to be done and can be done to improve it, to keep up with many of the others around the league.”
If the stadium does stay in its current location, city council already approved a master plan in 2019 to outline the type of zoning, mixed-use buildings and features the area should include improving the quality of life and mobility in the area.
The Broncos technically don’t own the land, but have a stake in this process. The land is owned by the Stadium investment Corporation, which is a non-profit venture between the Metropolitan Football Stadium District and the Stadium Management Company and an affiliate of the Denver Broncos Football Club.
“I think a new owner really wanting to make sure that they’re a part of shepherding through this dialogue about, one the district that’s built around the stadium that that’s still a project they want to continue forward with, but two how that happens,” said Denver City Councilwoman Jamie Torres who represents the district.
“A lot of things were put on hold because not just the pandemic, but they didn’t have a developer one board either and there are just certain things that really require that level of integration,” Torres said.
Torres pointed toward infrastructure like water lines, streets and parks that will need ownership input before the plan can be designed and pushed forward.
Another concern for Torres is how, if the plans move forward, the creation of this new district will impact the cost of living and quality of life of residents who call the adjacent neighborhoods home, in some of Denver’s lowest-income pockets.
“I think affordable housing is the floor right, it is the starting point, but there’s so much more that a development like this needs to include,” Torres said. “We know it’s going to be active for commercial, active for families on an ongoing basis, so how are those things made available and accessible to all the surrounding neighborhoods? You’re not creating a bubble, you’re not creating something exclusive.”