DENVER (May 10, 2016) – The Downtown Denver Partnership issued today the 2016 State of Downtown Denver report. The annual report, funded in part by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, is one of the most comprehensive statistical looks at the stories and statistics behind a thriving center city, detailing increasing investment, strong office market fundamentals, a growing and highly-educated workforce and vibrant residential population in Downtown Denver.
“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. “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.”
At a breakfast attended by nearly 600 business and civic leaders, Door presented key facts from the report, including:
Development and Investment
Developers are responding to increased demand propelled by a strong population and job growth, as well as key public-sector investments. $2.5 billion of investment is under construction or planned for Downtown Denver, on top of more than $634 million of investment in 2015 that included 15 projects to create an additional 511 hotel rooms, 1,901 residential units and 333,000 square feet of office space.
Office Market and Employers
Downtown Denver is an ideal place to start or grow a business. In the past 24 months, 24 companies have relocated or expanded, and office market fundamentals remain strong with a 9.5 percent direct vacancy rate and $33.14/square foot direct average lease rate. As of the beginning of 2016, an additional 2.8 million square feet of office space was planned or under construction.
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
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. Attracted to vibrant walkable districts and diverse residential amenities, 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. 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.
Multi-modal transportation options converge in Downtown Denver, where nearly 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
Downtown Denver’s parks and public spaces are an economic asset for the community and help transform an individual’s experience in the center city. In 2015, public spaces were activated for a collective total of 749 days. Events like Meet in the Street, produced by the Downtown Denver Partnership and funded by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, resulted in 30 percent more pedestrian traffic on the Mall, and 60 percent of people spending more time in the space.
Tourism and Attractions
A world-class destination for regional and international tourists, more than 15 million people, including one 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.
“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 Downtown Denver Partnership.
Following an overview of the report, a panel moderated by Rob Cohen, CEO of IMA Financial, and including 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, discussed the opportunities and challenges facing Downtown Denver, including population growth, mobility, affordability and education, as well as 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 Rob Cohen, CEO of IMA Financial and chair of the Partnership’s Downtown Denver Inc. Board of Directors. “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.”
For more information and to view the complete 2016 State of Downtown Denver report, visit www.downtowndenver.com.
About the Downtown Denver Partnership
The Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc. partners with public, private and non-profit entities to implement high-impact strategies, outlined in the organization’s long-term strategy the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, to support its vision for an economically healthy, growing and vital Downtown Denver. For more information, visit www.downtowndenver.com.
About The Downtown Denver Business Improvement District
The Downtown Denver Business Improvement District (BID) is a public organization funded by private commercial property owners. It strives to provide a clean, safe and vibrant Downtown environment for workers, residents and visitors. Through their annual assessments to this quasi-governmental entity, BID property owners fund a series of district-wide programs that enhance Downtown Denver, including cleaning and maintenance efforts, safety initiatives and targeted visitor marketing. The BID is an independent organization that contracts with the Downtown Denver Partnership to manage its work program. For more information, visit www.downtowndenver.com/about-the-bid.