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The Denver Factor: Why Businesses are Moving to the Mile High City

[fa icon="calendar"] 6/7/18 3:25 PM / by Melissa Krischuk

Melissa Krischuk

(Photo Credit: Unico Properties)

People want to live in Denver, and companies from across the country are taking note.

It doesn’t take long to understand the appeal of Denver – proximity to the mountains, 300 days of sunshine, an epic food and booze scene, just to name a few. But beyond the hiking, cycling and craft beer lies a strong business community that is helping companies from startups to Fortune 500s thrive.

Almost every week, a new company is making headlines for moving their headquarters or setting up a major operation in the Mile High City. And for good reason.

Recent rankings* almost speak for themselves:

  • Third Best Place to Live in the U.S. (U.S. News and World Report, 2018)
  • Third Fastest Growing Large City (WalletHub, 2018)
  • Top Metro for Small Business Employment (Paychex, 2018)
  • Fourth Best Place for Business and Careers (Forbes, 2017)

Denver has repeatedly ranked among the best [insert almost any category you can think of here] for a number of years now, and there’s no indication that’s changing as the city attracts more and more companies. Metro Denver’s unemployment rate remains steady around 2.9%, one of the lowest in the country, while job growth rate was 2% in 2017.

So why exactly are companies continuing to flock to Denver? Let’s break it down.


One of the biggest trends in business migration over the past few years has been companies relocating to Denver from the coasts, and mainly California. While quality of life and access to amenities for employees is undoubtedly a part of the decision-making process, there is another major factor that makes it almost a no-brainer: lower rents.

At the beginning of 2018, Denver ranked #9 for highest average asking office rental rates in the country at $27.02 per square foot. And while being in the top 10 might not sound like it’s something to be proud of, area rents are significantly lower than $74.34 in New York and $73.44 in San Francisco.

This is a factor that strongly contributes to Denver’s growing reputation as a tech hub, ranking third in startup density among major metro areas. In Downtown Denver, there has been a 74% increase in tech employment since 2010.


There’s something to be said about the old adage, “If you build it, they will come” – which seems to be especially true in Denver.

Within the past year alone, more than 2.6 million square feet of office space was delivered in Metro Denver, including 1144 Fifteenth, a 40-story, 670,000-square-foot speculative office tower in Downtown Denver, and Riverview at 1700 Platte, a 210,000-square-foot building along the Platte River. With a significant number of pre-leases for recently delivered projects, there continues to be more demand for new development.

At the end of Q1 2018, there were more than 4.2 million square feet of office space under construction, 2.7 million of which is in Downtown Denver. Some of the most anticipated projects include the 428,219-square-foot 16 Chestnutand The Circa Buildingon Platte Street, with nearly 90,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of retail.

Looking for space outside of Downtown Denver? Read our recent blog post for more details on development in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood.


No discussion around attracting and retaining companies can happen without talking about employees. Located in the fifth most educated state in the U.S. (WalletHub, 2018), Metro Denver attracts highly-educated people seeking an active outdoor lifestyle with the convenience and excitement of a strong urban core. Once known for little more than its proximity to the mountains for activities like skiing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and fishing, Denver has become a destination in its own right.

Built around distinct neighborhoods and cultural hubs, there’s something for everyone in Denver – from the 14 craft breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries in RiNo to world-class restaurants in LoDo (check out James Beard Award Winner Alex Seidel’s Mercantile Dining and Provisionin Denver’s Union Station) to the best rooftop patios in the Highlands to internationally recognized museums in the Golden Triangle. Simply put, people want to be here, and there’s ample opportunity for companies to tap into the talent.

The trifecta of affordability, continued development and access to talent make Denver a hard city to beat for companies looking to set down roots and flourish. You just need someone with the insight to help you effectively navigate the market. That’s where we come in.

Looking to relocate or expand in Denver? Drop us a line.

Contact Melissa Krischuk, Broker Associate

402.301.9636 |

 *For more rankings and information about Metro Denver, read the 2018 State of Downtown Denver Report.

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Topics: Metro Denver, Commercial Real Estate, Commercial Brokerage, Denver Market, 2018 Outlook

Melissa Krischuk

Written by Melissa Krischuk

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