–By Debra Prentice, Market Development Director for Arrow Solutions Group
09.12.18 Denver, CO: The Growth & Transformation of Denver’s Business, Political, and Geographic Landscape. Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock was the keynote speaker at a panel discussion taking a look at the future of Denver as a global city and the Denver’s accomplishments of Denver of the last 10 years. The event was hosted by Greenberg Traurig and the Denver Business Journal.
Keynote Speaker: Mayor Michael B. Hancock
Mayor Hancock conveyed positive energy about the future of Denver, and the city’s accomplishments over the last 10 years. The mayor emphasized that he is a partner with business to jump start our economy and one of the most desirable cities to live. He stated that in 2007, Denver had double digit unemployment rates and the city was below 10% in savings (which could have downgraded the city’s credit rating).
“10 years ago, we were talking about recovery – not growth. Denver has had a 30% growth in the city since we’ve had the mindset of growth. This is the most massive transformation we’ve experienced since the early 1900’s.”
Mayor Hancock states that Denver has experienced 30% growth since the city has had a ‘mindset of growth: currently, Denver is experiencing the biggest prosperity in the history of the city. The city has had over 6600 companies relocate here, and with that came 90,000 jobs. He states, “What comes with growth is talent – both millennials and baby boomers.”
Today, Denver is considered one of the most vibrant cities in the U.S.; and in the midst of this prosperity civic leaders must manage it properly. Denver recently increased its recreational marijuana tax, and the Mayor expressed concerns about Denver’s homeless population. A recent study showed that over 40% of the homeless population suffers from behavioral, mental health, or substance abuse issues. Mayor Hancock states that these individuals would have a place to go and would not be homeless if they were not sick. For these individuals, the city’s strategy is to direct individuals towards services in order to break the cycle of their issues.
The Mayor also acknowledged concerns of affordable housing and traffic congestion with future plans to address these issues.
For more information about Denver plans for expansion, click on the article: “Denveright” plans chart out new direction for rapidly expanding Denver’s transit, parks over two decades.
Panelist: Tami Door – President & CEO, Downtown Denver Partnership
Door discussed previous successes of Denver: building an airport, making the downtown area vibrant, and building a transit system in a relatively short amount of time. Looking towards the future: Door states that Denver is becoming a global city, and in less than 10 years, you will see robots in the city center performing meet and greet functions and highways above you.
“Great cities don’t appear – they are built. We had our plan and you can see the results of that plan.”
Door also is looking towards the future demographics of Generation Z and as well as millennials. Door advises that the demographics of current and future generations is an ‘interesting dynamic; that could have potentially have political implications. Door stated that the city is actively marketing Denver as a great place to attract Gen Z or for millennials to raises their families. “We never thought that building more bike lanes was imperative. We asked mid-sized tech companies what the most important thing to keep high tech people in Denver – and it was bike lanes.”
In a different article by Business Wire, “Our city’s already fast-paced growth is not slowing down, and it is important that the public and private sectors work together to be prepared for what’s ahead,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “The efforts of the Colorado Technology Recruiting Coalition will ensure that when the best and the brightest companies seek to relocate and expand to Denver, we are well-equipped with the world-class talent they need.”
Read Business Wire’s full article at: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180402005208/en/Denver-Tech-Companies-Launch-Colorado-Technology-Recruiting
Door also expressed the Mayor’s concerns about the strain on Denver’s social services. She states that Denver is the core urban center for Colorado, and the city is experiencing the brunt of problems with social services. This is a major issue because other communities in Colorado do not have the resources for social services, and Denver is seeing an influx of individuals in need from other services. However, Door states that the need for social services is breaking down regionalism in Colorado.
Panelist: Kevin Kelley – Executive Vice President & Regional Director – Colorado, United Properties
“We’ve never seen a competition in the labor market such as this. The challenge is to find skilledmillennials and to attract the best talent. The power has shifted from the employer to the employees.”
Kelley states that this has been a big change for Denver, and Denver will continue to be a global city. He expressed concerns that the cost of doing business is in real estate taxes, and one of his tenants has a higher real-estate tax in downtown Denver than what he pays in downtown San Francisco. Kelly also addressed the possibility of Amazon coming to Denver, “I don’t think Amazon is going to pick one city, but Denver should experience some growth (in respect to business growth from Amazon)”.
Panelist: Kim Day – CEO, Denver International Airport
Day also acknowledged concerns about the homeless population, “however, you don’t get to pick who moves into the city. We are going to be a very big city; we are working to backtrack to support our social infrastructure”. Day further explained that the homeless are not the only ones who have housing issues. Individuals who are at 100% ami (area median income) or 80% ami are having issues finding affordable housing. “We currently don’t have the solutions, but neither does any other city.”
“As Denver grows, we are also growing jobs. On an average day, there are 400 open concession jobs at the airport, we are having trouble filling all of those jobs,” Day states. “Some people are working multiple jobs, for others the commute (to the airport) for work is too much for families. We need housing near the airport to get a working population at the airport.”
“The word equity is thrown around like gentrification. We need to be aligned when we talk about these issues. These issues can tear a city apart.”
In terms of being a global city, Day has seen millenials not having a problem flying to Europe over the weekend. Day also states that since Denver is the new airport in the U.S. and is setting new standards in the U.S. “Many millenials and baby-boomers are attracted to Denver because it is a progressive, global city. It’s the environment – a beautiful city with mountains,” Day states.
Panelist: Michael McGinnis – Administrative Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Michael McGinnis agreed with Mayor Hancock that the early 2000’s were a gloomy period of time with some large banks struggling, but is optimistic about Denver’s growth and the future: “We are staged for the next 10 years to build the basic infrastructure of the city. The new trend for funding (in terms of construction) is P3: it’s a public/private partnership to get funding to build projects.” In terms of housing McGinnis states that the younger generation does not necessarily want a large house with a large yard, may want low maintenance housing like town homes.
Greenberg Traurig and the Denver Business Journal co-hosted the panel discussion. To read more click on the link: https://www.gtlaw.com/en/news/2018/9/press-releases/greenberg-traurig-and-denver-business-journal-co-host-panel.
Moderator: Pete Casillas- Market President & Publisher, Denver Business Journal
Keynote Speaker: Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver
Panel: The Growth and Transformation of Denver’s Business, Political and Geographic Landscape
from left: Pete Casillas, Kevin Kelley, Kim Day, Michael McGinnis, & Tami Door
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