Montbello began as a suburban-style development, the first major annexation of privately owned land to the far northeast area of Denver, taking place in September, 1965. The annexation included almost 3,000 areas of land and plans for the area to develop into a mixed use community and dictated the general land use and densities and provided for the necessary public land sites for parks, schools, and other public facilities. Developers built a large variety of homes, ranging from small soap-box ranches, to large multi-level family homes.
During the boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, real estate prices in this ZIP code were high and in sync with the rest of metro Denver.
The neighborhood lies north of I-70 and was isolated from the rest of Denver by Stapleton International Airport, now still under redevelopment. To the north of Montbello is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, a Superfund site formerly used for the manufacturing of chemical weaponry. After Denver’s annexation of the Denver International Airport site even further northeast, the neighborhood has occupied a more “central” location in the city.