Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hexcel Ground Breaking

From The Denver Post:

"Economic incentives and Colorado's mountain vistas held no sway in persuading Hexcel Corp. to build a new manufacturing plant in Windsor.

'We are here because our biggest customer, Vestas, is here,' David Berges, chief executive and chairman of the Stamford, Conn., company told a crowd gathered Thursday at the Great Western Industrial Park, where the company held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new 100,000-square-foot facility."

From Hexcel Press Release

"Hexcel announced on December 10th 2008 that Windsor, Colorado would be the location for their new prepreg manufacturing plant to serve the North American wind energy industry. Since then, great progress has been made with the construction of the new facility. Foundations have already been laid for the 100,000 square foot building, and exterior concrete walls were erected earlier this month. Hexcel expects production to begin at the new plant in the second half of 2009.

Hexcel selected Windsor as the location for the plant due to the close proximity of Vestas Wind Systems, who will be a major customer for prepregs manufactured at the facility. Hexcel and Vestas pioneered the use of prepreg in wind turbine blades over a decade ago and the strong, lightweight materials have been a major contributor in the growth of blades to today’s epic proportions."

Link to earlier blog post on the Hexcel announcement

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Link to Recent Union Station Design Presentation

If you are like me and eagerly following the progress of the Union Station redevelopment project you will be very interested to see a recently released "Design Presentation"which provides new details on the transit infrastructure, architecture and public spaces being planned for Union Station.

Image from Scott L. Robertson,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Richard Florida: How the Crash Will Reshape America

The Atlantic Cover story by Richard Florida: "How the Crash Will Reshape America" is full of the authors' fascinating insights about economic geography and regional development patterns in the context of the current economic and financial crisis.

“No place in the United States is likely to escape a long and deep recession. Nonetheless, as the crisis continues to spread outward from New York, through industrial centers like Detroit, and into the Sun Belt, it will undoubtedly settle much more heavily on some places than on others. Some cities and regions will eventually spring back stronger than before. Others may never come back at all. As the crisis deepens, it will permanently and profoundly alter the country’s economic landscape. I believe it marks the end of a chapter in American economic history, and indeed, the end of a whole way of life.”

Florida does not deal specifically with the Denver Region in the text of the story, instead focusing more attention on places like New York, the Rust Belt and California, but many of his insights are very relevant for the Front Range.

"In fact, as I described in an earlier article for this magazine (“The World Is Spiky,” October 2005 [link opens PDF]), place still matters in the modern economy—and the competitive advantage of the world’s most successful city-regions seems to be growing, not shrinking. To understand how the current crisis is likely to affect different places in the United States, it’s important to understand the forces that have been slowly remaking our economic landscape for a generation or more....

The ability of different cities and regions to attract highly educated people—or human capital—has diverged, according to research by the Harvard economists Edward Glaeser and Christopher Berry, among others. Thirty years ago, educational attainment was spread relatively uniformly throughout the country, but that’s no longer the case. Cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Raleigh, and Boston now have two or three times the concentration of college graduates of Akron or Buffalo. Among people with postgraduate degrees, the disparities are wider still. The geographic sorting of people by ability and educational attainment, on this scale, is unprecedented. "
The interactive maps showing different aspects of economic geography such as patent production, income and population are fascinating and worth exploring. They help reinforce two of the Denver Region's two key characteristics: its spatial isolation and economic vitality. Its particularly striking to see how potent, the Front Range's two college towns, Boulder and Fort Collins have been as patent generators. This clearly bodes well for the region's future economic health.