Brief

Denver building boom accelerating as new construction reaches $2.5B

Dive Brief:

  • The Downtown Denver Partnership’s most recent State of Downtown Denver report revealed that there is currently $2.47 billion worth of construction projects being planned (14 projects) or underway (18 projects) in the city, The Denver Post reported.
  • Projects include hotels (1,230 rooms), residential units (4,592) and office space (2.77 million). That level of construction dwarfs 2015’s hotel rooms (591), residential units (1,901) and 330,000 square feet of office space added  worth a total $634.7 million.
  • As downtown developers set their sights on adjacent pockets of available space for additional growth, Partnership officials said it’s important that they address housing affordability, workforce development and transportation challenges so that they can be "part of the solution and not a part of the problem."

Dive Insight:

In October, the New Republic reported on Denver's skyrocketing housing prices, which were up 17% in 2015, and connected the increase in building activity to the development around cannabis legalization. In the first half of 2015, Colorado brought in $253 million in cannabis income. The city's industrial areas, once appealing to artists and nonprofit groups because of low rents, now provide nearly four million acres of marijuana grow space.

Denver has consistently been on the Realtor.com and Zillow "hot market" lists this year, and it is considered a desirable place for millennials to establish homes. However, all of the activity caused a logjam in the Denver building department last summer, when officials said it had the largest permit backlog in its history, with project reviews taking up to three times the normal period.  After that experience, however, building department officials said they hired extra staff and independent contractors to help with project reviews and introduced a new software system that has helped employees deal with the workload.

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Filed Under: Commercial Building Residential Building Economy