New England Inspires Highlands Ranch Town Center Design

Ever wonder what inspired the design for the Highlands Ranch Town Center and its clock tower looming above the spread of buildings? John Kilrow, the person behind the design, was inspired from his boyhood days in New England but that’s getting ahead of the story.

Kilrow and several others transferred from Mission Viejo—original builder of Highlands Ranch—to Shea Homes, the new owner. “It was a ‘total asset sale,’” he said, “even the paper clips!” He was then Vice President of Development and is now Senior VP of Development for Shea Properties.

Kilrow, who grew up in Rhode Island and went to college in Boston, said, “I went back to my roots in New England. I sat in pocket parks, saw a water fountain in a park in Newport, R.I., and a clock tower in Dorchester, Mass.” He brought back photographs of these places for design consideration. “Shea allows for the best quality,” he said.

“The intent was to create a landmark and a sense of place as well as introduce a community space within a private development,” said Brian Konczak, partner with MOA Architecture, then a “lead captain” for the project, whose company did the working drawings. “The design creates a clear visual access to the heart of Town Center,” he continued. That access is via Dorchester Street that Kilrow named after Dorchester, Mass.

To add a personal touch during construction, buildings were given names, such as Frederick, after a Frederick Building in Boston said Kilrow. The clock tower building is named Pat for the contractor’s superintendent. Pat, the 53’ clock tower—though not the tallest building in Highlands Ranch—is an iconic image for the community.

Dedicated in December 2004, the Town Center is a gathering spot for people to shop, dine and enjoy the surroundings. The pocket park in front of Town Center is a mini park, providing greenery to enjoy during the hustle and bustle of visiting the center. “It’s not a place to play frisbee,” said Konczak.

Courtesy of MOA Architecture

The Town Center Mini Park features a green open lawn, and inviting shaded tables, perfect for enjoying the sights and sounds and treats from the various merchants surrounding the park.


The beautiful brick buildings of  Town Center house a variety of businesses, and offer some playful touches, such as this Monkey and the artful faces. The Monkey, on the south-eastern side of the building, was playfully referred to as the “Drunken Monkey” during the construction of the Town Center.

Look UP and AROUND to experience the beauty of the architecture.  And if you happen to look UP near the RIGHT SIDE HORIZONTAL LEDGE of the Lansdown Arms, try to capture a clear picture of the WHITE FIGURE on the edge.  What is that figure??  Please send a clear copy to sends e-mail)

Transportation Station Platform Shelter

Clever New England-style round cupola with fixed HR flag