Steve Ferris was director of Development Services for Denver.
- Ferris has launched Real Estate Garage.
- He has a history on the public and private side of development.
Steve Ferris has gone back and forth between the public and private sectors during his real estate career.
On the public side, he has been involved in well over $1 billion in deals in Colorado and other states, tackling everything from new hotels to behind-the-scenes due diligence required to build new green home communities in Denver for what was then called New Town Builders, but what is now known as Thrive Home Builders.
Ferris, 52, until late November, has been director of Development Services for Denver.
In that role, which he held for about 2.5 years, he led a 140-person department responsible for inter-agency regulatory coordination, zoning, site engineering, and building code compliance.
Now, Ferris has launched his own consulting firm, the Real Estate Garage.
“I saw an opportunity to return to the private sector,” he told Denver Real Estate Watch last week.
“I think a lot of future developments could benefit from my skill sets,” he added.
Ferris, an engineer and urban planner by training, who also has a MBA in finance, plans provide clients with his 20-plus years of experience at Real Estate Garage.
“With an in-depth understanding of the private and public development processes, I know firsthand that there is great opportunity for property owners to produce high quality projects with reduced timelines,” he said.
His curriculum vitae includes serving as the Town Manager and Director of Planning & Building for the Town of Telluride and Director of Community Development for the Town of Snowmass.
“Transitioning under-utilized land into income producing assets requires thoughtful coordination of technical expertise and planning and approval know-how. That is the unique service that the Real Estate Garage will bring,” Ferris said.
He already has landed three clients, including Jason Winkler, the co-founder of the nationally acclaimed and award-winning Industry Denver in RiNo.
“Steve brings the insight we need to work with the City, and the understanding of the full scope of our projects to fit the pieces together,” Winkler said.
Ferris also is in the early stages of talking to national construction system operations and private equity investors.
Ferris said he could help a developer through many stages of the process, both on the public and private side.
“I would say I could be of service from everything from the early concept stage, financing, acquisition and due diligence all the way to the start of construction,” Ferris said.
Increasingly, many developments in Denver, even those allowed by right, face stiff opposition from neighbors.
“I could serve as a liaison between neighbors and developers,” Ferris said. “Part of my role at Development Services was to explain to community members and members of the the public why the city was approaching development in a certain way at a specific location.”
Also, some developers might run into problems during that they didn’t anticipate and Ferris could help.
“You might have a property and you find out that it has drainage problems and I could work with the city engineers to determine how the problem can be resolved,” Ferris said.
He also sees opportunities on guiding developers on transit oriented development projects.
“TODs are always interesting,” Ferris said. “Sometimes with TOD sites, you really have to rethink how the city works in those locations. Cities sometimes want to realign streets to better improve connectivity.”
He also could help developers rezone property, but if the developer is seeking more density, there are no guarantees.
“Rezoning is not a right,” so depending on the circumstances, it may not be possible, he noted.
Mayor Michael B. Hancock said Ferris did a good job for the city.
“Steve brought solid knowledge of both the public and private sectors to the city’s Development Services Department,” Hancock said.”‘I have no doubt he will continue to use that insight to serve this great city we love in his latest endeavor.”
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