Panasonic continues its march into U.S. renewables, making a strategic investment in Rail Stop LLC, the development company creating the first phase of Peña Station NEXT in Denver. Peña Station NEXT is a 400-acre, transit-oriented development destined to become America’s next great smart, sustainable mixed-use community. It is located near 61st & Peña Station along the new University of Colorado A Line train route connecting downtown Denver withDenver International Airport (DIA). The Rail Stop land comprises 154 acres of Peña Station NEXT and includes the newly constructed and recently opened operations hub of Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company. The Panasonic investment is a joint venture with LC Fulenwider, Inc., the master developer of Peña Station NEXT.
In December 2014, Panasonic announced it would consolidate the operations of Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company in Denver, including operations for Panasonic CityNOW, which brings Panasonic’s global smart city expertise to North America. The announcement launched a uniquely strong collaboration among the City and County of Denver, DIA, LC Fulenwider, Xcel Energy, Panasonic, and other major stakeholders. The epicenter for that collaboration has become Peña Station NEXT, a global smart city showcase inspired by Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town, a Panasonic-led smart and sustainable development in Fujisawa, Japan, about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo.
The smart city solutions being deployed at Peña Station NEXT will include an innovative solar-plus-storage microgrid, smart LED street lights with video analytics and other features for community safety and parking, community Wi-Fi, electric vehicle charging stations, and autonomous electric shuttles to create a seamless mobility experience throughout the transit-oriented development to and from the rail station.
“Panasonic is much more than the anchor corporate tenant at Peña Station NEXT,” said Jarrett Wendt, Executive Vice President of strategic initiatives at Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company. “This is our home, and this strategic investment is a testament to our commitment to make that home one of the smartest and most sustainable new developments in the country. In partnership with LC Fulenwider, the progressive City and County of Denver, Denver International Airport, and our other key partners, we expect to put Peña Station NEXT on the national and global map.”
Panasonic’s investment comes at a time when the City and County of Denver and Denver International Airport have embarked on a bold vision to create a “Colorado Aerotropolis.” DIA is the 6th busiest airport in the United States and recently ranked the #2 best airport in North America in the 2016 Skytrax World Airport Awards. The Aerotropolis initiative is expected to make DIA and the surrounding area a world-class “live, work, play” destination and Peña Station NEXT will be a cornerstone of that effort.
“Having Panasonic as an equity partner in Rail Stop is a game changer. It ensures that we will be the true North American showpiece for the next generation of smart and sustainable technologies, which will be incorporated into the fabric of our transit-oriented development (TOD) at the front door of DIA,” said Cal Fulenwider, III, CEO of LC Fulenwider, Inc. “Peña Station NEXT is raising the bar for real estate development in the United States by utilizing clean, smart, connected, and sustainable technologies as the basis of our master plan. Having Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company as our partner guarantees we will always be the technological leader and at the cutting edge of smart, sustainable development.”
— Solar Builder magazine