DDP, Downtown Denver Partnership, released a report on Tuesday.
DDP report shows $3 billion in recent and ongoing investments in downtown.
DDP CEO Tami Doors hails downtown Denver as a model for the nation.
Downtown Denver is a national model for a great city, more than 600 civic and business leaders were told on Tuesday.
And that is not an idle boast.
More than $3 billion in downtown developments have either been recently completed, underway or on the drawing board, according to the comprehensive 2016 State of Downtown Denver report released on Tuesday.
“Our center city’s strong economy and dynamic energy creates a place where people want to live and work, and as a result, it’s a place where companies want to locate,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, who addressed more than 600 business and civic leaders at a DDP breakfast meeting.
“Downtown Denver is a model for what a great city can be as a result of our collective strategic, place-based economic development strategy and the long-term vision and commitment of public and private-sector leaders,” added Door.
The annual report is funded in part by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District.
“I applaud the Downtown Denver Partnership for leading the private sector’s commitment to help develop and implement the strategies that are responsible for the economically vibrant center city showcased in the 2016 State of Downtown Denver report,” said Joe Vostrejs, principal of City Street Investors and chairman of the DDP.
Highlights of the 25-page report, packed with statistics, photos by Ryan Dravitz Photography, and graphics include:
Development and Investment
Some $2.5 billion of construction is underway or planned. Investments will bring 1,230 additional hotel rooms, 4,592 new residential units, and 2.77 million square feet of additional office space to downtown.
That follows $634 million of investments for 15 projects completed in 2015. Those projected added 511 hotel rooms, 1,901 residential units and 333,000 square feet of office space.
Office Market and Employers
In the past 24 months, 24 companies have relocated or expanded into downtown Denver. The direct office vacancy rate is 9.5 percent and the average lease rate is $33.14 per square feet.
More people are working in downtown Denver than ever before, totaling 123,548 at the end of 2015. Employment has increased 13.2 percent since 2010, surpassing the nation-wide increase of 8.5 percent. Denver is also the seventh most educated metro area in the country, with more than 40 percent of Denver metro area residents earning a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Students and Universities
Some 54,000 students attend public, not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Downtown Denver, and more than 10,000 students attend trade or private institutions.
The Auraria Higher Education Center continues to see growth and investment to help ensure businesses are able to recruit qualified employees, with new facilities including an aerospace and engineering sciences building at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and an advanced manufacturing center at the Community College of Denver.
Ranked as the top place to live in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report, 75,972 people live in Downtown Denver. This number is expected to grow by 12.6 percent over the next five years, compared to 3.7 percent nationally.
Retail and Restaurants
First-to-market and new-to-downtown options create a diverse retail scene, including the second non-coastal location for Uniqlo, which will open a 23,000-square-foot flagship store later this year in the Denver Pavilions. 53 percent of businesses along the 16th Street Mall are local businesses or local chains contributing to the $45 million in retail sales tax collections generated in Downtown Denver in 2015.
Almost 60 percent of Downtown Denver employees commute to work via transit, walk, bike or ride share; 21 percent of Downtown Denver residents don’t own a car.
Public Space and Activation
In 2015, public spaces were activated for a collective total of 749 days. Events like Meet in the Street, produced by the DDP and funded by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, resulted in 30 percent more pedestrian traffic on the 16th Street Mall and 60 percent of people spending more time in the space.
Tourism and Attractions
More than 15 million people, including a million conference attendees to the Colorado Convention Center, visit the city each year and spend a total of $4.6 billion. Downtown Denver’s 32 hotels also experience high occupancy rates, and with four new hotels planned.
Following the preservation by Door, Rob Cohen, the DDP chairman, moderated a panel on the future and challenges facing downtown.
Panel members included:
- Crissy Fanganello, director of transportation for Denver Public Works;
- Chris Frampton, managing partner of East West Partners;
- And Scott Heimes, chief marketing officer at SendGrid Denver.
Topics explored included population growth, mobility, affordability and education. They also discussed the role the entrepreneurial community plays in the future of the center city.
“While Downtown Denver is certainly thriving, it’s important to continue collaboration between the public and private sector and engage in important dialogue to drive our center city forward,” said Cohen, CEO of the IMA Financial Group.
“Let’s continue to invest in and capitalize on the opportunities we’ve worked so hard for and ensure Downtown Denver remains the best place in the entire country to live, work and visit,” Cohen said.
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