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Downtown Denver Economic Update January 2013

Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc.

Research Department Research Department • 511 16th Street, Suite 200, Denver, CO 80202 • 303-534-6161 •

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Various economic indicators show continued expansion of the Downtown Denver economy. The most up-to-date statistics show continued employment growth, rising retail sales tax collections and a strong residential real estate market. However, fourth quarter data presents mixed indicators for the commercial real estate market. Employment increased by 3.7% in Downtown Denver and 3.2% in the Business Improvement District (BID) from the previous year, according to the latest employment data from the second quarter 2012. Most industry groups experienced employment increases, with 4,160 total jobs added over the past year. In both Downtown Denver and the BID, the fastest growing industry was the relatively small education and health services industry. In Downtown Denver’s largest industry, professional and businesses services, employment increased by 8.3% in Downtown Denver and 8.1% in the BID. Retail sales tax collections were 7.1% higher in Downtown Denver and 2.8% higher in the BID in the third quarter compared to the previous year (the increase in the Downtown market was skewed higher than the BID area due to a larger than normal filing by one taxpayer). Third quarter tax collections from restaurants, the largest retail category in both the BID and Downtown Denver, increased 8.8% and 9.3% over-the-year, respectively, and collections from clothing and accessory stores rose significantly. However, tax collections declined over-the-year in the second largest retail category, hotels, in both Downtown Denver and the BID. The average room rate for Downtown Denver hotels declined slightly, despite higher year-to-date occupancy rates. The residential real estate market continued its strong recovery. Data from the third quarter showed total home sales almost doubling in the BID and increasing by over 70% in Downtown Denver. City Center neighborhoods also enjoyed 50% growth over-the-year, higher than the 24% growth in Metro Denver as a whole. Further, the number of foreclosure filings is on the decline in Metro Denver. Residential development is thriving in Downtown Denver and the City Center neighborhoods, with 6,728 units under construction in Downtown Denver and surrounding neighborhoods. Commercial real estate indicators are mixed according to the most recent data. Fourth quarter direct office market vacancy rates for the BID and Downtown Denver rose above year-ago averages. However, average lease rates increased in both the BID and Downtown Denver. Retail market vacancy rates were flat in the BID and slightly higher in the Downtown Denver area in the fourth quarter than year-ago levels and lease rates for both areas declined.

This report includes the most recent quarterly data available and covers economic conditions in three areas. The first and smallest area is the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District (BID). The second area – which aligns with the 2007 Downtown Area Plan – is referred to as “Downtown” and includes the BID and several surrounding districts. The home sales section of the report also covers the City Center neighborhoods, which include both Downtown and the BID in addition to other neighborhoods. Please see page 11 for a detailed map of the three areas. Metro Denver in this report refers to the seven-county region comprised of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties.


ECONOMIC UPDATE, JANUARY 2013 The Downtown Denver economy continues to expand. Employment increases were spread broadly across most industry groups, with 4,160 jobs added over the past year according to the most recent data. The unemployment rate decreased and businesses indicated that stronger hiring is planned for 2013. Although national and international budget woes, U.S. tax and spending policy uncertainty, and widespread drought conditions are tempering business and consumer attitudes, spending patterns are increasing at strong rates. The strength of the residential real estate market has been especially encouraging as buyers and sellers frustrated by slow-paced improvements are finally moving back into the market. Downtown Economic Highlights

 Spokespeople for the Denver Union Station Project Authority say the main components of the transit plan are 65 percent complete, the underground regional bus facility is 70 percent complete, and the commuter-rail station is 55 percent complete. The light rail station and the 16th Street Mall Shuttle have been relocated and extended to the northwest and have been operational since mid-2012. Improvement and construction of the streets and various plazas are nearly 80 percent complete with Chestnut Street already rebuilt and plans to rebuild Wewatta in the coming months. When complete, the $350 million project will serve as a hub of the Regional Transportation District’s FasTracks plan and will integrate all forms of local transportation including light rail, Amtrak, local bus service, Mall shuttle, vans, and other forms of transportation. Officials say the transit plan is on budget and is slated for completion in the spring of 2014.

 CNN Money ranked two Denver companies among the top 100 fastest-growing companies in 2012. Whiting Petroleum was ranked 70th with revenue growth of 25 percent and profit growth of 66 percent. Chipotle Mexican Grill ranked 73rd with revenue growth of 20 percent and profit growth of 41 percent.

 Royal Gold Inc. of Denver ranked 47th among the nation’s 100 best small companies by Forbes. The rankings were based on return on equity, sales growth, and earnings growth over the past five years, and companies had to earn revenues of less than $1 billion to be considered.

 Pixia Corp, a commercial software and services provider for the U.S. Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and intelligence community, opened an office in Downtown Denver. The company plans to hire locally and cited the choice of location as based upon Denver’s significant number of companies that deal with large amounts of digital data, particularly pictures.

 Denver-based Trackvia secured $7.1 million in venture capital financing to expand the company’s marketing, sales, and engineering operations. The company provides cloud-based software to help non-technical business people build and deploy customized applications. Spokespeople say they will double its workforce, customer base, and revenue over the next year.

 Boulder-based SendGrid opened an office in Downtown Denver and will hire software engineers, support staff, and web developers. Spokespeople for the email delivery company say the new location will improve access to its client base and offers a highly skilled talent pool.

 Spokespeople for Denver-based DaVita Inc. say the dialysis provider opened a primary clinic in LoDo. The clinic operates under the Paladina Health brand – a subsidiary of DaVita – which operates primary care clinics in 11 states and the company plans to open more clinics in Metro Denver.

 Inc. magazine recognized 10 Colorado companies on its first-ever “Hire Power Awards” program, which ranked companies by the number of jobs created from 2008 to 2011. Downtown Denver-based Smashburger was the highest ranked Colorado company at ninth overall and second in the food and beverage category, creating 995 jobs.


 Downtown Denver will soon have a new full-service grocery store, a King Soopers official confirmed in January. The urban format grocery store will be located at 20th Street and Chestnut Place on the ground floor of an apartment complex being built by the Nichols Partnership Inc. in the Denver Union Station redevelopment area.

 Gates Corporation laid off approximately 40 employees at its headquarters in Denver. The parent company of Gates, Tompkins Ltd in London, stated that the layoffs were part of its “right-sizing” effort to pare down its holdings. Gates is a manufacturer of belts and hoses and still employs 450 people in Denver.

 Denver received numerous accolades recently for its business climate and tourist appeal:  Denver ranked sixth among “America’s 50 Best Cities” in 2012 based on metrics including education, income, unemployment, leisure activities, and air quality. (, September 2012)

 Denver ranked 14th among the nation’s most tax-friendly large cities for business. (KPMG International, 2012 Competitive Alternatives: Focus on Tax, September 2012)

 Denver ranked ninth in the nation on the list of the “15 Best Cities for Female Entrepreneurs.” The rankings began with the most populous cities on Forbes’ “Best Places for Business and Careers,” and then took into account the most firms led by women, the most SBA-backed loans going to women, and the number of jobs created by these businesses. (Forbes, October 2012)

 Denver ranked 15th among the nation’s 2012 “Top 50 U.S. Meetings and Convention Cities.” (Cvent Inc., August 2012)

 The annual “America’s Favorite Cities” rankings, which use travelers and residents to rate 35 of the country’s most visited cities on 66 different categories, ranked Denver highest in quality of microbrews (second), most active and athletic residents (third), most sports-crazed fans (seventh), and having the nicest summer (eighth). (Travel + Leisure, November 2012)

 Three Denver hotels – the Ritz-Carlton, the Oxford Hotel, and The Curtis Hotel – were named to the 2012 list of the “Best Business Hotels in 15 Cities.” Business travelers noted the fun and friendly atmosphere of The Curtis Hotel, the hospitality-focused environment of the Oxford Hotel, and Ritz-Carlton’s prime location and professional staff. (Condé Nast Traveler, September 2012)

 Several Downtown Denver hotels were included on the list of top hotels in the West: Oxford Hotel (first), Hotel Teatro (fourth), Brown Palace Hotel (fifth), Four Seasons Hotel Denver (sixth), Ritz-Carlton Denver (seventh), and the Curtis (10th). (Condé Nast Traveler, October 2012)

 The Four Seasons Hotel Denver was ranked as a top five conference center hotel in the Americas. The hotel was named the best hotel for impressing the boss and was noted for being situated very close to the Colorado Convention Center, having 17,000 square feet of meeting space, and offering a free shuttle. (, November 2012) Employment Activity

 Employment growth in the Metro Denver region during the third quarter reached the fastest pace of growth since the first quarter of 2001. Employment in Metro Denver in the third quarter of 2012 was 2.7 percent higher than the same quarter in 2011, representing an increase of 37,200 jobs. The supersectors posting the highest rate of growth compared to last year at this time were natural resources and construction (+5.1%), leisure and hospitality (+4.8%), and education and health services (+3.9%). The largest supersector in Metro Denver, professional and business services, increased 3.5 percent and added 8,500 jobs.


Total statewide employment in the third quarter was up 1.6 percent over-the-year, representing the addition of 35,400 jobs. While statewide growth was slower than that experienced in Metro Denver, Colorado continues to add employment at a faster pace than the nation. U.S. employment in the third quarter was 1.4 percent higher than the same period in 2011. (Sources: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Labor Market Information, Current Employment Statistics (CES); U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

 Covered employment1 in the second quarter increased in both the BID and Downtown market areas. Downtown employment was 3.7 percent higher in the second quarter of 2012 than it was one year earlier and eight of the 11 industry supersectors recorded higher employment levels than year-ago levels. Professional and business services – the largest supersector in Downtown – expanded 8.3 percent over-the-year, representing the addition of nearly 2,700 jobs. Notably, the job growth rate was highest in two of Downtown’s smaller supersectors: education and health services (+28.4 percent) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+9.8 percent). Of the three supersectors that lost employment, this was the fourth consecutive quarter in which employment was below the year ago level for both the government (-0.8 percent) and other services sectors (-9.3 percent). The information sector has shed jobs for the past several years. However, the rate of decline slowed this quarter (-8.7 percent) as the job losses had been in the double-digits for the prior five quarters. COVERED EMPLOYMENT Employment

Business Units* (2Q12) Industry



BID 2Q12


Downtown % ch



% ch

Private Sector Natural Resources & Construction










































Financial Activities

















Education & Health Services









Leisure & Hospitality









Other Services

























Manufacturing Wholesale & Retail Trade Transp., Warehousing & Utilities

Professional & Business Services

Government Total

Note: Data covers only those businesses with an address listed in administrative records. Most, but not all, businesses meet this criterion. As a result, changes in the data series over time are not always due to changes in actual employment; some changes are due to differences in address reporting. *The count of business units is generally larger than the count of individual businesses because some businesses have multiple units. Sources: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, QCEW; Development Research Partners.

Total second quarter employment in the BID was 3.2 percent higher than the job total recorded one year prior. Similar to Downtown, BID supersectors with the largest percentage job gain over-the-year included education 1 Jobs covered by unemployment insurance as reported in the QCEW. These positions represent the vast majority of total employment, although the self-employed, some agricultural workers, some domestic workers, and several other categories of workers are excluded. This data series lags the CES series by about six months and is available for the nation, states, MSAs, and counties.


and health services (+47.1 percent) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+8.5 percent). Professional and business services is the BID’s largest supersector and posted the third highest rate of growth: the supersector increased 8.1 percent over-the-year or the addition of 2,400 jobs. New professional and business services jobs represented almost 80 percent of the total employment increase in the BID area. Similar to last quarter, four of the BID area’s 11 industry supersectors reported second quarter employment that was below year-ago levels, with the largest job losses in manufacturing (-19.8 percent), other services (-10.7 percent), and information (-10.4 percent). (Sources: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW); Development Research Partners.

The unemployment rate in the City and County of Denver declined to 8.3 percent in the third quarter of 2012, which was the fourth consecutive quarterly decline. This represents about 26,900 Denver residents that are not working, which is down considerably from the peak number of unemployed of 34,000 reached during the first quarter of 2010. While the unemployment rates in Metro Denver and Colorado remain below that of the nation, the unemployment rate has been dropping faster at the national level. The unemployment rate in Metro Denver fell to 7.6 percent in the third quarter, down from 8 percent during the third quarter of 2011. Similarly, the unemployment rate in Colorado was down to 7.8 percent compared to 8.1 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate of 8.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012 was down by a full percentage point compared to last year at this time. (Sources: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Labor Market Information; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

 Results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for the first quarter of 2013 suggest improved prospects for employment. The number of companies in the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield MSA that plan to hire (23 percent) rose 6 percentage points over the fourth quarter of 2012 and 7 percentage points over-the-year. This is the greatest percentage of companies planning to hire since the fourth quarter of 2008. The percent of companies that expect to lay off workers was unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2012 at 8 percent and the percent of companies planning no employment changes dropped to 66 percent. The results for the U.S. were mainly unchanged from results in the fourth quarter of 2012. The percent of companies planning to lay off workers decreased slightly to 8 percent, while the percent of companies unsure of decisions rose to 3 percent. Seventeen percent of companies say they plan to hire, which is the same as last quarter but 3 percentage points higher than year-ago numbers. Still, 72 percent of the companies said that staffing levels would remain at current levels, which was the same percentage as last quarter. (Source: Manpower Inc.) Consumer Activity

 The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index declined 9.1 percent in December compared to November, most likely due to uncertainty surrounding the impending fiscal cliff. Economists for the Conference Board did note that consumers were markedly more upbeat about the current business situation and labor market despite the monthly decline in the index. For the fourth quarter, the Consumer Confidence Index averaged 69.9, representing a 16.3 percentage point increase over the final quarter of 2011. Consumers generally exhibited more confident behavior throughout 2012, with the annual index averaging 15 percent higher than 2011. The Mountain Region’s Consumer Confidence Index, which includes Colorado, showed a similar trend to the national index, declining 19.5 percent from November to December. Still, the average index for the fourth quarter was 16.4 percentage points higher than the fourth quarter of 2011 and the average annual index for all of 2012 was 19 percent higher than last year. (Source: The Conference Board.)


 The year-to-date average occupancy rate for Downtown hotels through the third quarter (75.4 percent) was higher than the year-to-date average in 2011 (73.7 percent). Despite higher occupancy, the average room rate through the third quarter of $151.66 was slightly below the year ago average of $152.80. Hotel occupancy throughout Metro Denver for the first three quarters of 2012 averaged 70.4 percent, up one percentage point from the occupancy level for the same period of 2011. Unlike the Downtown market, the average room rate in Metro Denver for the first nine months increased from $110.85 in 2011 to $111.67 in 2012, a 0.7 percent increase. (Source: Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, Rocky Mountain Lodging Report.)

 Third quarter retail sales tax collections were 7.1 percent higher in Downtown and 2.8 percent higher in the smaller BID area than sales reported one year prior. The increase in the Downtown market was skewed higher than the BID area due to a larger than normal filing by a taxpayer located in the Downtown market, but outside of the BID area. Third quarter sales tax collections in the largest retail trade category in both Downtown and the BID – restaurants – increased 9.3 percent and 8.8 percent over-the-year, respectively. Growth in the second largest category in both areas – hotels – declined over-the-year by 3.7 percent in Downtown and 6.3 percent in the BID. Clothing and accessory store tax collections, which is the third largest category in both areas, increased by nearly 34 percent in both Downtown and the BID. Throughout all of Metro Denver, total retail sales – which is a slightly different, but related, measure of consumer activity –increased by 8.5 percent from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2012. (Source: City and County of Denver, Office of the Controller.) RETAIL SALES TAX COLLECTIONS BY INDUSTRY BID Industry Manufacturing


Downtown 3Q11











Furniture & Home Furnishings





Electronics & Appliance Stores





Bldg. Materials/Improvement/Nurseries





Food & Beverage Stores













Clothing/Accessory Stores





Sporting Goods/Hobby/Book/Music Stores





















Hotel & Other Accommodation Svcs.










Retail Trade Motor Vehicles & Auto Parts

Health/Personal Care Stores Service Stations

General Merchandise/Warehouse Stores Miscellaneous Stores Information Producers/Distributors Bus. Admin, Support, Waste/Remediation

Other Services Total Retail Sales Tax Collections Yr/Yr % Ch












Residential Real Estate

 The housing market continues its phenomenal recovery, both in the Downtown markets and throughout the Metro Denver region. Housing in the BID and Downtown markets almost exclusively consists of condominiums and townhomes. The number of units sold in the BID market area nearly doubled from the third quarter of 2011 to the third quarter of 2012, with sales increasing from 45 to 88. The BID area is already known for its high-priced loft properties, and the upward price trends continue. Indeed, the average sales price increased over 63 percent for the period due to strong sales activity at the Four Seasons Luxury Residences. There were 24 properties that sold for over $1 million each, boosting the average sales price to $695,900. Indeed, of the 24 million-dollar properties, two sold for over $2 million and one for over $3 million. Condominium and townhome sales in the Downtown market increased over 74 percent, with sales activity reaching 143 units in the third quarter of 2012. As this market encompasses the BID market, sales of the Four Seasons Luxury Residences also influenced the average price. Twenty-six properties sold for over $1 million during the quarter, up from only four such sales one year ago. As a result, the average sales price increased 36 percent to $566,100.

 Similar trends were reported in the City Center Neighborhoods (CCN) as total third quarter home sales in the CCN were nearly 50 percent higher over-the-year. In addition to condos and townhomes, the neighborhoods in the broader CCN market include single-family detached homes. Single-family detached homes account for about 20 percent of the total sales activity in the CCN. Although sales activity of these dwellings increased 28 percent, the average sales price decreased nearly 6 percent to $308,500. Condominium sales, however, increased by 56 percent and the average price increased nearly 36 percent due to the Four Seasons sales activity. Like the BID and Downtown areas, average prices in small markets are heavily influenced by the presence of high-valued properties that can swing the price significantly up or down.

 Sales activity throughout Metro Denver also increased at a fast pace. Condominium sales increased nearly 28 percent over last year and the average price increased nearly 18 percent to $197,050. Sales of single-family detached homes increased at nearly the same pace, up 23 percent over last year. Price appreciation of single-family detached homes averaged 7.5 percent over the year, reaching an average sales price of $321,100. In total, over 13,700 properties were sold in the third quarter of 2012, a 24 percent increase over last year and representing a much more active market than anticipated for the year. (Sources: Colorado Comps; Development Research Partners.) EXISTING HOME SALES BID 3Q12


Downtown % Ch


City Center Neighborhoods


% Ch



% Ch

Metro Denver 3Q12


% Ch

Condominiums/Townhomes Sold During Quarter













Average Sales Price













Ave. Price per Sq. Ft.*













Detached Single-Family Homes Sold During Quarter













Average Sales Price













Ave. Price per Sq. Ft.*













Total Home Sales













*Excludes homes where total square footage was not reported. Note: Data could include a small number of new home sales. Source: Colorado Comps.


 After a slight uptick in foreclosure activity through the second quarter of 2012 as lenders moved ahead with the backlog of cases that accumulated during last year’s legal standoff, the number of new foreclosure filings is retreating once again. The City and County of Denver’s public trustee issued 733 foreclosure filings during the third quarter, down from 868 during the third quarter of 2011. This was the lowest number of foreclosure filings in the City and County of Denver in eight years, since 725 foreclosure filings occurred during the third quarter of 2004. Foreclosure filings throughout Metro Denver totaled 3,723 in the third quarter, an 11.5 percent decline from the third quarter of 2011 when 4,208 foreclosure proceedings started. This was a seven-year low for the number of quarterly foreclosures in Metro Denver. (Source: Colorado Division of Housing.) Commercial Real Estate Note: lease rates for industrial, flex, and retail property are triple-net. Office rates are full-service.

 Fourth quarter direct office market vacancy rates for the BID and Downtown (12.8 percent and 12.3 percent respectively) rose above year-ago averages. The rate in the BID increased by 1.4 percentage points and the rate in Downtown increased by nearly one percentage point. Rates declined consistently through the second quarter of 2012, but increased in both areas in the third quarter. While fourth quarter rates declined slightly from the third quarter, significant negative net absorption in the third quarter contributed to highs that have not been reported since 2010. Despite an increase in vacancy rates, average lease rates in both the BID and Downtown continued to increase. The direct average rate in the BID ($27.48 per square foot) was up over 7 percent over-the year and the rate in Downtown ($27.01 per square foot) was up over 6 percent. Average lease rates for both areas were the highest reported since the first and second quarters of 2009. The Metro Denver direct average lease rate in the fourth quarter ($20.76 per square foot) was also up over-the-year, increasing 4.4 percent from fourth quarter 2011. The direct office market vacancy rate in Metro Denver decreased from 12.6 percent in fourth quarter 2011 to 12.2 percent in fourth quarter 2012. (Source: CoStar Realty Information, Inc.)

COMMERCIAL VACANCY AND LEASE RATES BY PROPERTY TYPE, FOURTH QUARTER 2012 Vacancy Average Rates Lease Rate 4Q12 4Q11 4Q12 4Q11 Office BID 12.8% 11.4% $27.48 $25.59 Downtown 12.3% 11.5% $27.01 $25.46 Metro Denver 12.2% 12.6% $20.76 $19.88 Industrial BID* 25.5% 25.5% Downtown 1.6% 2.1% $10.00 $14.10 Metro Denver 5.2% 6.5% $4.67 $4.57 Retail BID 2.9% 2.9% $22.25 $22.75 Downtown 3.3% 2.8% $20.41 $21.49 Metro Denver 6.6% 6.9% $14.78 $14.66 Note: Vacancy and average lease rates are for direct space only (sublet space excluded). Retail and industrial lease rates are triple-net. *The BID contains a total of three industrial properties with a combined 66,200 square feet of space. Only two of the three buildings were occupied, contributing to a higher-than-average vacancy rate. Source: CoStar Realty Information, Inc.


 The Downtown industrial market remained close to full occupancy in the fourth quarter of 2012, reporting a 1.6 percent vacancy rate, down from 2.1 percent in fourth quarter 2011. Of the three buildings in the BID, two were fully occupied in the fourth quarter. The average lease rate in the fourth quarter ($10.00 per square foot) was down significantly from the year-ago level. However, individual properties can skew fundamentals in a market this small. Vacancy rates across the Metro Denver region declined over-the-year, falling 1.3 percentage points from 6.5 percent in fourth quarter 2011 to 5.2 percent in fourth quarter 2012. The vacancy rate was the lowest reported since 2001. According to analysts, minimal building activity over the last several years contributed to a tight supply in the industrial market and declining vacancy rates. The average lease rate increased 2.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011 ($4.57 per square foot) to the fourth quarter of 2012 ($4.67 per square foot). (Source: CoStar Realty Information, Inc.)

 Fourth quarter direct vacancy rates in the BID and Downtown retail markets – 2.9 percent and 3.3 percent respectively – remained well below the metro-wide average (6.6 percent). While the rate in the BID remained constant from year ago levels, the rate in Downtown increased by half of a percentage point from 2.8 percent. Lease rates for both areas also declined over-the-year. The direct average rate in the BID ($22.25 per square foot) was down 2.2 percent and the rate in Downtown ($20.41 per square foot) was down 5 percent. The fourth quarter rates were also well below pre-recession levels with the rate in the BID about 13 percent lower than the highest rate reported before the downturn began, and the rate for Downtown about 12 percent below the pre-recession peak. The fourth quarter direct average lease rate for retail property throughout Metro Denver ($14.78 per square foot) was up 0.8 percent over-the-year. The fourth quarter vacancy rate in the region declined 0.3 percentage points to 6.6 percent from 6.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. (Source: CoStar Realty Information, Inc.) Development Activity Several nonresidential and mixed-use projects are either planned or underway in Downtown Denver, including:

 The Union Station Alliance received historic preservation certification approval from the U.S. National Park Service to proceed with Denver’s Union Station redevelopment project. The approval means that the project is eligible for a federal 20 percent investment tax credit. The project will be a mixed-use, transit-oriented hub and is expected to open in mid-2014. The station will feature 22,000 square feet of ground-floor space for retail stores and restaurants, a 12,000-square-foot “great hall” public area, and a 40,000-square-foot outdoor plaza.

 A 300,000-square-foot speculative office building at 1601 Wewatta Street will be built by Hines Interest L.P. and includes 17,000 square feet of retail space and a four-story, below-grade parking structure.

 Holland Partners announced construction of a mixed-use building at 16th and Market Streets in Downtown Denver, called 16M, which will include retail and office space, plus luxury apartments on the top floor. The 10-story building could include 130,000 square feet of office space, luxury apartments, a fitness center, 15,000 square feet of retail space, and underground parking. The building could be complete by early 2014.

 A 19th century building at 33rd and Arapahoe Streets will be transformed into the headquarters for Denver Urban Gardens, with room for a farmers market and shared space for nonprofits. The 25,000-square-foot building was purchased by the Denver Housing Authority in 1992 with plans to tear it down and build apartments, but has been left alone until its current transformation plans.


 Metropolitan State University of Denver announced that it plans to build a $12 million athletic facility on 12.5 acres. The complex will include baseball, softball, and soccer fields and eight tennis courts. The location is set for south of the Colfax Avenue viaduct and east of Interstate 25 next to Shoshone Street. The first phase will break ground in January and be completed by April 2013.

 Builders are working on a $28 million new student learning and engagement building for the Community College of Denver (CCD). The 87,000-square-foot, energy-efficient building will be a one-stop facility for CCD’s registration and admissions, advising and testing services, and financial aid offices. Spokespeople for CCD say the new building will make enrollment easier for its 12,000 students and faculty, staff, and students will have access to 14 new classrooms, a café, and meeting spaces. Construction will be complete by the spring of 2013. Recent highlights regarding some of the current residential projects include:

 The team of Wood Partners and East West Partners recently broke ground on the Alta City House west of Denver Union Station. The $62 million complex will include 281 units, a rooftop deck with kitchen, a bike room, dog park, and wine cellar. The project is expected to be completed in 18 to 24 months. ♦

Zocalo Community Development broke ground on the first apartment complex at the historic Denver Union Station. The 219-unit, energy-efficient Cadence Union Station apartment project is located near the corner of 17th and Chestnut streets and will include a pool and lounge area, fitness center, parking garage, and other amenities. The project’s studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments will average 810 square feet and pre-leasing could begin as early as 2013.

Robust multi-family development continues throughout the City Center Neighborhoods. There were 709 new housing units in seven different developments completed during 2012, the largest of which was the 231-unit 2020 Lawrence development by Zocalo Community Development. Another 39 projects with 6,728 rental and for sale units are either planned or currently under construction. Nineteen of the projects have more than 200 units with the three largest being the Denver Housing Authority’s South Lincoln Park development at West 10th Avenue and Osage Street, Shea Properties’ 18th & Curtis development in the Central Business District neighborhood, and Allied Realty Group’s 2785 Speer apartment project near Interstate 25 and Speer Boulevard. The most active submarket is the Highland area in which 11 different residential projects are planned or underway. Six of the new projects in this submarket are small for-sale developments, ranging from four to 23 units.


For-Sale Units

Rental Units







Capitol Hill



Central Business District



Central Platte Valley/ Denver Union Station



Curtis Park/Five Points



Golden Triangle






Jefferson Park



La Alma/Lincoln Park



Lower Downtown









Source: Downtown Denver Partnership


Business Improvement District (purple), Downtown Denver (purple and yellow), and City Center Neighborhoods (purple, yellow, and blue)

Written in January 2013 by: Development Research Partners, Inc. 10184 West Belleview Ave, Ste.100 • Littleton, CO 80127 303-991-0070 •


January 2013 Economic Update  

Most up-to-date economic indicators for Downtown Denver as of January 2013

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