Denver experienced a fast recovery from the Great Recession compared to the rest of the country, according to the latest study by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ American Cities Project.
The study, titled, “America’s Big Cities in Volatile Times,” focuses on financial reports of the 30 largest metropolitan areas in the nation from 2007 to 2011.
“We found that revenue for two-thirds of the cities we studied hadn’t bounced back to their revenue peaks by 2011,” said Kil Huh, Pew’s director of state and local fiscal health. “Cities are still continuing to struggle and face future challenges.”
The cities facing a slower recovery relied heavily on property taxes. Although they didn’t feel the decline in real estate value immediately, these big city governments were hit much later into the recession, recovered slowly, and are still suffering from some of the effects of the decline. More than two-thirds of the cities had not recovered by the end of 2011.
However, Denver proved itself as the comeback kid. According to the study, Denver’s revenue approached pre-recession levels by 2011.
So what made the difference for Denver? Although the region saw its greatest dip in 2009, the region was smart in its approach to fiscal management ensuring that while we were one of the first into to the recession, we were also one of the first out of the recession. This is often a point our CEO Tom Clark is overheard discussing.
“Denver positioned itself very well in terms of long-term obligations, compared to other cities,” said Huh.
The economic growth in the Metro Denver region has continued into 2013, with new developments and pre-leasing levels not seen in more than 10 years. And the market is not stopping—commercial rental rates are predicted to exceed an all-time record by the end of the year.
Key Findings from Denver’s Profile:
1. Personal consumption reflected sales tax growth.
A 10 percent increase in sales tax collections from 2009 to 2011, totaling $46 million, highly contributed in the city’s overall revenue growth. The study also shows that every revenue category increased by 2011, including investment income, and property tax collections.
2. Denver continued targeted spending cuts and froze hiring between 2009 and 2011, despite revenue gains.
Spending cuts were made in parks, recreation and cultural facilities, social services, and police and fire. Along with implementing a hiring freeze, Denver also managed its long-term strategy by encouraging early retirements.
3. Proactive fiscal management positioned Denver well for the future.
Denver took action to fund its future retiree health care liabilities. With assets of $88 million in 2010, funding slightly less than half of its long-term retiree health commitments, the city was one of four examined with funding levels above 40 percent. Although the city’s pension funding level was down to 86 percent from 97 percent three years earlier, Denver continued to make its recommended contributions.
While many cities will continue to deal with a slow economic recovery, Denver remains on top of its economic game, thanks to its ability to create long-term goals.
Our great state is one of the best for business right now and it’s predicted that we’ll have the third-fastest growth for jobs and household incomes over the next five years. With continuous announcements of company headquarters and expansions into the region, this report is just one more proof point showcasing how Metro Denver’s future looks bright and prosperous.
Metro Denver’s commercial real estate market has continued to expand this year, with new development and pre-leasing levels not seen in in more than 10 years. According to international real estate consulting firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Metro Denver’s commercial space vacancy has declined for the 15th quarter in a row, down 1.4 percent from this time last year at 17.7 percent.
Contributing to this decline are new, high-rise office towers coming on the market downtown, major corporate tenants, such as McGraw-Hill, and the growing young professional demographic moving into the region.
Metro Denver was recently ranked No. 9 by Vocativ’s Livability Index of the best places for people 35 and under to live. Young professionals ages 24 to 35 choose to live in the metro region because of the access to mass transit, bike lane systems, and housing.
And with the re-development of Denver Union Station as the region’s transportation hub, which will eventually connect downtown to Denver International Airport, it’s no surprise that Metro Denver has become one of the hottest office markets in the nation.
Here are some of Metro Denver’s most recent commercial real estate projects and developments:
- Battery 621, a business incubator on Sixth Avenue and Santa Fe Drive, has developed a new creative office space project in the River North Neighborhood. The 120,000-square-foot workspace will house 350 to 400 professionals.
- Zeppelin Development, Inc. has also broken ground on a new office building in the River North neighborhood. The four-story, 60,000 square-foot space will cater to small entrepreneurial companies, midsize, and large companies seeking innovative workspaces.
- First Gulf Corp. unveiled plans for a 21-story office building on Lawrence Street. The new building will feature 290,000 square feet of office space with ground floor of 7,500 square feet of retail and 347 parking spaces. The Ontario-based company plans to break ground on the project in early 2014 and will include the new head office for Coca-Cola Canada.
- The Art, a $50 million, nine-story hotel has also broken ground in downtown Denver on West 12th Avenue and Broadway and will feature 165 rooms. The 165-room hotel is expected to be a key part of the Metro Denver’s cultural redevelopment, dubbed a "keystone" of the center's rebirth by Mayor Michael Hancock. The Art will also include 50,000 square feet of office space to fill the first three floors.
Denver also ranked eighth in a study by CBRE for its tech company growth and rental rate increases. According to the study, technology services employment in the Metro Denver area rose by 16 percent between 2010 and 2012 as tech companies leased up space for expansion.
Given the strong real estate happenings in Metro Denver, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank predicts that commercial rental rates in Metro Denver will exceed an all-time record by the end of the year.
In the past several years, Metro Denver has become a thriving hub for company expansions and headquarters relocations, with the most recent growth centered in the financial services industry.
Personal Capital, a California-based digital wealth management firm, has set its sights on Metro Denver, with a new office opened in August that will bring approximately 100 new finance jobs to the region over the next two years. The bulk of the company’s local hiring will take place over the next 12 months.
Personal Capital is one of 16 companies we, along with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, welcomed to Metro Denver’s business community last evening at our annual Executive Welcome Reception. DaVita hosted the event at its global headquarters near Union Station.
Personal Capital develops free software and mobile applications that anyone can use to view and track all of their financial accounts in one secure place. They’ve also got an advisory service, in which advisors manage money remotely on behalf of those users who are in search of wealth management solutions. The Denver office, located at 18th and Curtis streets in downtown, will be the center of operations for the firm’s financial advisory team and is the first major expansion after receiving a $25 million round of venture capital funding in June.
Why Metro Denver?
Last week we sat down with Jeff Davis, director of advisory sales for Personal Capital to get the inside scoop about why Personal Capital chose Denver for its big expansion.
According to Davis, Personal Capital selected Metro Denver largely in part because of its reputation as a financial services sector hub and availability of talent for an advisory services firm.
“Denver rises to the top as an example of the highest concentration of certified financial planners,” said Davis. “Not only is there an amazing existing talent pool to pull from, but the excellent collegiate system here allows us to hire at entry level.”
According our Financial Services Industry Cluster Study, 6.5 percent of Metro Denver’s workforce is in financial services and that number is continuing to grow.
Personal Capital’s CEO Bill Harris, former CEO of PayPal and Intuit, added that another reason he chose Denver was because of its central location between the East and West coasts and ability to offer convenient business hours across the nation.
“We’re delighted to be executing on our long-term expansion plans with the new office in Denver, which we chose as the site for our advisory hub primarily because of great access to financial talent to serve our clients nationwide,” said Harris.
Metro Denver’s Financial Services Hub
Personal Capital’s story is just one example of how the financial services sector has made a strong comeback in our region over the past year. By December 2012, financial services providers were adding jobs at 5.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the beginning of this year, state economic-development officials announced four company expansions to Metro Denver with the potential to bring nearly 2,000 additional financial-sector jobs to the region over the next several years:
1. Redwood Trust – The San Francisco-based real estate investment trust plans to bring 552 jobs to Douglas County over five years.
2. Fidelity Investments – The Boston-based investment giant plans to create 500 jobs, after already bringing 200 jobs with its new service center that opened in Greenwood Village in July.
3. Charles Schwab – the company consolidated its 2,000 Denver-area employees into a $230 million, 930,000-square-foot campus at RidgeGate in Lone Tree. Charles Schwab expects to add another 480 local jobs over five years.
4. Visa Inc. – the credit card company plans to add 406 jobs over the next five years to a new 66,000-square-foot Global Technology Center in Douglas County.
Just like Personal Capital, all four companies point to Metro Denver’s highly educated workforce, pool of financial expertise, and business-friendly climate as reason they chose to add jobs in the region and all are looking to grow here.
“We have ambitious growth plans and that revolves around our success in Denver,” said Davis. “It has a great overall atmosphere that allows for personal growth, and the environment throughout all of Colorado makes it very desirable for us to be here.”
The Denver Broncos aren’t the only ones scoring big this season. Colorado is also on a winning streak with top rankings posted in September. Metro Denver and Colorado scored high for labor supply, economic climate, growth, education, and quality of life.
We couldn’t be more proud of the region’s ongoing winning performance and look forward to more impressive rankings in October. Stay tuned!
Here are the top-three rankings from September that have kicked off the fall season on a high note:
- Forbes ranked Colorado fifth on its 2013 “Best States for Business and Carriers” list. Of the six areas, Colorado ranked first for labor supply, fourth for growth prospects, and ninth for quality of life. It’s no surprise that labor supply was ranked first – Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent, a whole percentage point in the past 12 months. For the first half of 2013, Colorado’s robust economy added jobs at a pace more than double that of the nation.
- Three Colorado universities placed in U.S News & World Report’s annual ranking of the top national universities. The University of Colorado – Boulder ranked 86th as the top-ranked in the state. CU-Boulder is also the only university in the Rocky Mountain region to make it into an elite group of 34 research universities called the Association of American Universities. The Colorado School of Mines and the University of Denver also made the list, tying at No. 91. For students interested in contributing to Metro Denver’s strong science scene, the Colorado School of Mines has an abundance of academic departments ranging from hydrologic science, engineering, and geophysics. The University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business is globally recognized for providing an immersive and engaged business education. Colorado State University ranked 121st, recognized as a leading research university with a renowned College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
- A poll that surveyed 2,286 adults conducted by Harris Interactive showed that Colorado was the fifth most-desired state to live in. Among top cities, Denver was ranked the seventh most-desired city to live in. Metro Denver’s office real estate market and vacancy rate of 13.5 percent, the lowest since Q3 2008, have helped boost the region as it continues to grow. An article in Forbes magazine, predicts that the Inland West, which includes Metro Denver, will be the fastest growing region of the country over the next decade. Between 2013 and 2023, Forbes predicts the region will grow by 7 percent.
We couldn’t be more proud of the region’s ongoing winning performance and look forward to more impressive rankings in October. Stay tuned!
This summer, we wanted to learn more about what inspired our digital agents to participate in our Metro Denver E-Force campaign, a program that asks area professionals to share information about the region's growing economy with their social media networks.
To find out what kept our digital agents engaged in our program, we asked them for feedback on why they live in Metro Denver and what kind of content related to Metro Denver’s business climate they enjoy sharing with their online networks.
Based on our survey, here’s a look at the top-three reasons our agents enjoy living and working in Metro Denver:
- Weather and Climate – No surprise here, with more than 300 days of sunshine, access to the great Rocky Mountains, and weather for all four seasons, Coloradoans are active year-round in this beautiful setting.
- People – agents love the people here for their openness, education, youth, diversity, and appreciation for the outdoors. Colorado residents are some of the healthiest in the country and 36 percent of us have a bachelor’s degree or higher, giving our state the third-most highly educated workforce.
- Business Climate – Metro Denver’s business scene is continuing to grow and mature, ranking sixth in the nation of best places for business and careers. Colorado is also ranked No. 5 on Forbes’ 2013 “Best States for Business,” expected to have the third- fastest growth for both jobs and household incomes over the next five years. We pride ourselves in our strong industries of aerospace, bioscience, energy, information technology, and financial services. Other favorite qualities about Metro Denver that keep our agents living in the region include cultural amenities and lifestyle. We have seven professional sports teams, world-renowned museums, live performances, and a thriving downtown.
We’re not surprised by their feedback. All of our agents are walking testaments to our regional brand of “Energetic Bodies. Energetic Minds.” People who live in Metro Denver thrive on maintaining a healthy work/life balance by taking advantage of our proximity to culture, recreation, and nature.
Our E-Force agents also shared with us their love for sharing business news about Metro Denver and getting involved in promoting economic development in the region. Their favorite news to post about the region includes economic updates, rankings, and company expansions.
“I am a proud Metro Denver native and want to see the people of this city thrive,” said E-Force agent Nathan Jansch, owner and general manager of Boardroom Executive Suites. “As a result, I want to do what I can to help promote the wonderful city that we live in. If anyone out there loves being in Metro Denver as much as I do, I encourage them to shout it from the rooftops how great Metro Denver truly is.”
Do you agree with our digital agents? Share your favorite reasons for living and working in Metro Denver in the comments below. And if you’re interested in shouting from the rooftops about how great Metro Denver is, be sure to sign up to be a digital agent today.
Fall is almost here! But before we welcome the changing Aspen leaves, Broncos football games and the crisp, Colorado autumn air, we wanted to salute the end of summer with the rankings our great state acquired in August.
Colorado’s business climate ranked highly in August for Metro Denver’s startup scene, fast-growing companies, convention center, and international airport.
Here’s a closer look at our top-five rankings that show Metro Denver is always open for business:
- Forbes ranked Denver and Fort Collins as the sixth- and seventh-best cities in the nation for business and careers, based on 12 factors related to jobs, the cost of business and cost of living, income growth, quality of life, and education of the labor force. With its major industries including aerospace, telecommunications and technology, Denver’s gross metro product is $153 billion and has a projected annual GMP growth of 3.9 percent. Fort Collins ranks high on school attainment with 43 percent of adults having a college degree and 94 percent with a high school diploma, with a projected annual GMP growth of 4.4 percent.
- 134 Colorado companies made the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies for 2013, with five companies located in Metro Denver and Northern Colorado listed in the top 100. The top-ranked company was Boulder-based Trada, an online advertising firm, which ranked 28th with revenue growth of 8,101 percent between 2009 and 2012. Loveland-based marketing and design agency, Madwire Media, ranked 52nd with 5,254 percent growth. Others that ranked in the top 100 include Englewood-based Eventus, Denver-based Altitude Digital, and Boulder-based Doc Popcorn.
- Boulder ranked first for its high-tech startup concentration at 6.3 times the national number, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Denver-Aurora-Broomfield MSA was ranked fourth nationally. The rankings were based on U.S. Census Bureau business dynamics data, ranking the concentration of tech startups less than five years old relative to the national concentration. Metro Denver has well-established itself as a top high-tech start-up hub in the last couple years and we’re happy to see it isn’t slowing down any time soon.
- Continuing with the tech concentration theme, TechAmerica Foundation’s Cyberstates 2013 ranked Colorado third in the nation in tech employment concentration, where the state’s tech industry employed 162,600 in 2012 and represented 8.7 percent of the state’s private sector workforce. The state also ranked 15th for tech employment and 7th for average tech wages at $97,100. The tech worker average wage is also 98 percent higher than the overall average private sector wage.
- Denver International Airport is the fifth-best airport worldwide for the time it takes to connect between flights, according to Mo’Zippity Apps. The rankings are based on the time it takes to get between an airport’s furthest gates when connecting between two flights. DIA showed a connect time of 18 minutes and is no more than four hours flight time from most major cities in the country. With the $544 million South Terminal Redevelopment Program well underway, we anticipate DIA climbing the airport ranking charts in the near future.
What were your favorite Metro Denver rankings from this summer? Colorado businesses sure know how to end the summer with a bang, because we loved them all! We look forward to what’s in store for the state’s fall rankings next month, so stay tuned!
Last week, Colorado gained a literary shout-out with the release of the book, “State of Slim: Fix Your Metabolism and Drop 20 Pounds in 8 Weeks on the Colorado Diet” by weight-loss experts James O. Hill, Ph.D. and Holly Wyatt, M.D. from the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
In their book, Drs. Hill and Wyatt share their insights on how people everywhere can embrace Colorado’s healthy lifestyle, develop a “Mile-High Metabolism,” and live with the mindset of the leanest state in the nation: find motivation, expect success, make healthy decisions, and create a supportive environment.
Given that Colorado ranked as the nation’s thinnest state in 2013, the book’s premise is spot on with our regional brand of “Energetic Bodies. Energetic Minds.” As we’ve shared in the past, healthy employees become a productive workforce that experiences less absenteeism and places fewer demands on the healthcare system.
In honor of the book’s release and as summer wraps up with this long and relaxing holiday weekend, we wanted to recommend some other books to check out that all have one important thing in common: Metro Denver. We’ve found five more books that give a special nod to the Mile High City, including reads that touch on business-oriented themes, were written by Colorado authors, highlight Denver’s history, and even one just for fun to enjoy with the kiddos.
Check out these five books that remind us why we live and work in Colorado:
1. A Dozen on Denver: Stories, by Rocky Mountain News
144 pages, Fulcrum Publishing (2009)
In this original tribute, twelve Colorado authors celebrate Denver's 150th anniversary, each creating a unique story based on a different decade in the city's colorful history. Ranging from the pioneer days to WWII aftermath to a vision of the future, this lively volume was the winner of the 2010 Colorado Book Award.
2. Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made it Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide, by Stacey Edgar
304 pages, St. Martin's Press (2012)
Stacey Edgar started Lakewood-based Global Girlfriend in 2003, dedicated to helping poor women worldwide start their own businesses and create a sustainable market for their products. Now the organization has over 60 women's cooperatives, women's nonprofits, and small women's microbusinesses in 21 countries. The book is a combination of growing the business and to show that it's possible to create a for-profit business with a social model.
Stacey has been honored by the Microsoft Corporation as a recipient of the company's Start Something Amazing Awards, by the Denver Business Journal as a "40 Under 40" Business Leader, and was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine.
3. Strategy for Good: Business Giving Strategies for the 21st Century, by Susan Hyatt
372 pages, Good Works Publishing (2011)
Denver author, Susan Hyatt, writes about many Denver-area business professionals and their philanthropic involvements, including; Judith O'Neill, Landscapes Within, Aaron Azari, Colorado State Bank and Trust, Chip Bair, BeauJo's Pizza, Mark Berzins, Little Pub Co., John Harris, Belcaro Paint and Decorating, and Karla Raines, Corona Insights.
The book was also the winner of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the Business category and received the bronze for the Nonprofit/Philanthropy category from the 2012 Axiom Business Book Awards.
4. Denver Then and Now, by Joshua Dinar
144 pages, Thunder Bay Press (2002)
Celebrating Denver's cityscape, Denver Then and Now combines historic interest and contemporary beauty, featuring archival photographs contrasted with specially commissioned, full-color images of the same scene today as a visual lesson in the historic changes of our Denver urban landscape. Stick this book in the waiting room or your coffee table and you're sure to spur conversation on Metro Denver's continuous developments and changes.
5. Good Night Denver, by Susan Bouse
20 pages, Our World of Books (2007)
Part of the Good Night Our World series, this children's book salutes a variety of iconic aspects in Denver, including the Rocky Mountains, Denver Zoo, and Denver Botanical Gardens. A great bedtime read to get your kids acquainted with the Metro Denver landscape and loving the region as much as you do.
What other books that mention Colorado or are written by Colorado authors are on your must-read list?
Why Metro Denver continues to attract national interest for company expansions
It’s no wonder companies are flooding to the Metro Denver region; Colorado’s impressive resume continues to sway business leaders to relocate or expand their operations and experience the state’s thriving business climate firsthand.
Since January, 27 companies have announced headquarters relocations and/or facilities expansions in the region, representing 1,638 future jobs and $6 million in investment. Just last week, Forbes ranked both Denver and Fort Collins in the top 10 for its annual “Best Places for Business and Careers” and Colorado ranks sixth in the number of new companies per 1,000 employees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Colorado continues to attract companies and workers on the move. The state has added more than 70,000 residents over the past year and Metro Denver has been at the heart of its economic recovery, accounting for more than 50 percent of the state’s labor market.
Here are five companies that are taking advantage of Colorado’s mile high appeal and establishing their headquarters or expansions in the Metro Denver area:
1. Ardent Mills
The soon-to-be-formed Ardent Mills, resulting fromthe merger between ConAgra Foods and Horizon Milling, picked Metro Denver for its new corporate headquarters. The Metro Denver headquarters is expected to employ about 250 workers initially, with combined annual sales of the milling operations estimated at more than $5 billion. In 2012, Colorado was the nation's sixth-largest winter wheat producer with a harvest valued at $594 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, making wheat the state's No. 3 crop.
2. Cool Planet
Cool Planet Energy Systems, a Los Angeles-based startup that turns biomass material like beetle-killed pine trees into fuel for cars, is moving its headquarters to Greenwood Village and is expected to locate its first manufacturing facility in the region. The new headquarters could create as many as 393 jobs in the area over the next three years and has attracted major investors from the fuel industry, including BP plc, ConocoPhillips, General Electric Co., and Google Ventures. Cool Planet plans to recruit talent from the state’s existing clean-tech worker pool, as Colorado ranks fifth in the U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index.
3. Terumo BCT
Terumo BCT, Lakewood's largest private sector employer, is investing $45 million into expanding its global headquarters on its Lakewood campus. A global leader in blood component and cellular technologies and serving customers in 120 countries and territories, Terumo currently has more than 1,900 associates working in Lakewood. The new expansion will bring together all of Terumo BCT’s U.S.-based associates.
4. Electronic Recyclers International
Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the world's largest privately held, environmentally safe recycler of electronic waste, will open its new 81,000 square foot facility in Aurora in September, more than doubling the size of its current Denver facility. At its seven facilities across the United States, ERI processes more than 250 million pounds of electronic waste annually with the highest capacity and most technologically advanced e-waste shredding system in North America.
5. Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable is constructing an $85 million expansion of its National Data Center West in Centennial, to open in January 2015. The new headquarters is expected to generate more than $11 million in local income and hire 400 new employees.
With so many new facilities to look forward to and with continual economic growth in Metro Denver, we are confident that we will to see consistent national investment in the region.
Just as fireworks lit up the skies during last month's Independence Day celebrations, Colorado was busy lighting up the July rankings lists. The summer has treated our state well, with national rankings for Colorado's high quality of life, encouraging workplaces, tasty food, growing manufacturing industry, leading hospitals, beautiful bike paths, business investment opportunities, business atmosphere, and solar power generation. Let's just say it was difficult to choose only five favorites this time!
Highlighting Colorado's impressive business climate, here are five rankings that especially dazzled us this month:
- Outside magazine named 26 Colorado companies in its annual "100 Best Places to Work" rankings, which means almost one-third of the nation's best workplaces are located in Colorado! Nineteen Metro Denver companies made it on the list, including four in the top 10: GroundFloor Media, Zen Planner, ReadyTalk, and Gnip.
- The University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) ranked as the top hospital in Colorado by U.S. News and World Report, with five of its specialties ranking in the top 50 national programs in their respective areas. The highest ranked program at UCH is the hospital's affiliated pulmonology program at National Jewish Health. Other nationally ranked programs at UCH included cancer, orthopedics, kidney disorders, and neurology and neurosurgery. With our famously healthy and active lifestyles, it's reassuring to know we have the resources to maintain our well-being right in our own backyard.
- Colorado ranked third nationwide for private-equity and growth-capital investment value in 2012, according to a recent Private Equity Growth Capital report. Last year, sixty-seven companies in Colorado received $26.8 billion, just behind Texas and California.
- Colorado ranked seventh in CNBC's annual "Top States for Business" ranking, moving up one spot from last year. Colorado excelled with the strength of its economy, as the seventh-fastest job growth in the nation since the recession ended. Colorado also received high marks for technology and innovation, as Denver and Boulder combined are in the top 10 cities for tech startups and more than 28 small businesses per 1,000 people are located in Metro Denver. Resources like the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN), launched by Governor Hickenlooper, support Colorado's innovation ecosystem, helping to grow companies and jobs.
- Colorado ranked eighth for solar power generated per capita, in a report issued by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries and Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center. According to the report, solar capacity grew by nearly 15 percent in the state during 2012. Solar power systems in Colorado can now generate 52 watts per person or 270 megawatts of electricity. We may have a competitive edge with our 300 days of sunshine, but this electrifying ranking also shows that our state has emerged as a solar energy leader.
The Metro Denver region has once again made us proud of our healthy business climate. Stay tuned next month for a look at the August rankings for Metro Denver and Colorado. Hopefully, some of our impressive educational institutions will find their way to the top yet again, just in time to get us ready for "back to school."
As you're looking out your office building, you're probably wondering about all of the construction cranes in operation throughout the region. While it's often hard to get excited about the construction zones around town, we thought we'd share with you why we are thrilled for these projects and what they'll bring for the future of the Metro Denver area.
Nationally, the construction sector had continued to lag and Colorado's construction workforce alone dropped from 169,500 jobs to 104,000 between 2011 and 2012, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. However, Metro Denver led the nation last year in new construction jobs with 6,300 new construction jobs, thanks to several big projects working full steam ahead. The construction sector has also led the charge in Colorado's employment of 2.4 million in June, the fourth-fastest job growth in the nation.
Here are five of the largest real estate projects currently underway in Metro Denver:
- Denver International Airport's (DIA) South Terminal Redevelopment Program:
- The airport project is creating nearly 1,000 jobs, including up to 700 construction and design jobs and more than 200 permanent hotel jobs.
- Slated for completion in 2015, the project includes a 519-room Westin Hotel and Conference Center that will feature a full-service restaurant, full gym, and an indoor pool in the saddle of the upper level of the hotel. A public transit center will be home to the aviation commuter rail station, connecting DIA to Denver Union Station downtown.
- The project is expected to generate $2 million annually to the City and County of Denver and up to $5 million for the airport.
- Denver Union Station:
- As the intermodal hub for the Metro Denver region, historic Union Station will integrate the Regional Transportation District's (RTD) light rail and commuter rail lines, Amtrak rail service, regional buses, taxis, shuttles, and bicycle and pedestrian access, where more than 100,000 people are expected to pass each day once complete.
- The nearly $500 million project includes an eight-track, at-grade commuter rail station and an 1,100-foot-long underground bus depot with 22 bays - more than double the capacity of Market Street Station that is currently RTD's hub for buses. Light rail from all parts of the region will converge at Union Station.
- The project will also draw new retail, office, and residential development to the neighborhood. Kidney-dialysis giant DaVita has already established a new headquarters in the neighborhood, and construction is under way for new buildings for IMA Financial Group and Antero Resources. One of the biggest projects is Holland Partners Group's 21-story apartment building at 1650 Wewatta St. The 272-unit project overlooking the Union Station train platform also will include 7,000 square feet of retail space.
- RTD is also adding a downtown circulator bus to complement its 16th Street Mall shuttle. Like the Mall shuttle, the service will be free. The circulator will run along 18th and 19th streets between Union Station and Civic Center. RTD is looking for funding to extend the service to the Denver Art Museum.
- Fitzsimons Village Anschutz Medical Campus:
- Corporex, a commercial real estate developer, is developing Fitzsimons Village across from the Anschutz Campus. The 32-acre site connects to the medical campus via an elevated pedestrian walkway across Colfax Avenue.
- The completed Fitzsimons 100 building includes 151,700 square feet of office space, 16,000 square feet of retail and a 715-vehicle parking structure across from Children's Hospital.
- The first phase of Fitzsimons Village also included a 153-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott, the only nationally branded hotel within six miles of the campus, and a regional bank branch for FirstBank.
- The six-story Fitzsimons 200 building will include 196,000 square feet of office space and 12,000 square feet of retail. A 250- to 300-room full-service hotel and conference center also is planned for the site.
- Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority's University Bioscience Park:
- In addition to our number three project, The Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority (FRA) is constructing an additional building in The University of Colorado - Denver's Bioscience Park Center.
- The University plans to start an undergraduate bioengineering program this fall, where students will attend classes at its downtown campus for their first two years. The second half of the program will be held in the new building at the 184-acre Bioscience Park, five minutes from Forest City's 4,700-acre Stapleton master-planned community and 15 minutes from Denver International Airport.
- The University's planned building will be the third in the Bioscience Park. Last year, the FRA completed an $8 million Accelerator building, which was 80 percent occupied when it opened. The 37,000-square-foot gives the FRA about 50 percent more space for companies now in its incubator building to expand.
- Charles Schwab consolidated its 2,000 Denver-area employees into a $230 million campus at RidgeGate in Lone Tree. RidgeGate will house the 930,000-square-foot campus, which will include both structured and surface parking, as well as an outdoor amphitheater.
- About 2,000 people currently live at RidgeGate, which also boasts a workforce of 2,000. The entire development is expected to double the size of Lone Tree, which annexed the property in 2000.
- Apartment and hotel developers also have increased activity at RidgeGate, with Corporex completing a 106-room Hampton Inn and poised to start construction of a 174-room Embassy Suites.
We highly anticipate the completion of all of these projects and many more, not only for own our enjoyment and use, but because their outcomes will reinforce why Metro Denver is gaining a well-respected reputation across the country for its investment in cutting-edge transportation and real estate infrastructure.