Monday, September 28, 2009

The Lack of Corporate HQs in Denver?

With the decampment of Newmont Mining for the Denver Tech Center in late 2008 from the Wells Fargo Center in Denver's CBD and the prospect that Qwest might also abandon the central city when its lease on 1801 California Street expires in 2012, I have been pondering that perennial question about why Denver is a second or third tier headquarters city when it has a first tier labor force, airport, and lifestyle amenities?

Is it the region's spatial isolation (Denver is not in or a short drive/train ride away from any of the five major business centers in the U.S.: New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco/San Jose)?

Is the fact that the Denver/Colorado economic development authorities are not funded to deploy massive tax subsidies to attract high profile corporate headquarters?

Is it because the Denver Tech Center, Englewood, Greenwood Village, etc are such attractive locations that they drain energy from the Denver CBD?

Its probably some combination of all of the above plus other reasons I have not identified.

Whatever the reasons, there most certainly are negative economic and aesthetic repercussions for the city and the region. A lack of HQs likely reduces regional economic vibrancy and makes locally-based philanthropic activity more challenging. The lack of marque corporate headquarters has also contributed to a dearth of newly constructed high profile, signature office towers in Denver since the 1980s real estate bust. The most beautiful office towers tend to designed by and for specific corporate owners and not as speculative investments - think Lever House, the Seagram Building, the GM Building and the Chrysler Building in New York City to take a few examples.

The factors that influence headquarters siting decisions are a running theme in this blog which I plan to keep exploring in future posts.

(photo above from Wikepedia Entry on the Wells Fargo Center in Denver).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Keeping Frontier Jobs in Denver

Regional officials in Colorado are putting together an economic development incentive package for Republic Airways, new owner of Frontier Airlines, in an effort to keep jobs in the Denver Region.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Union Station Milestone

Construction is ready to begin at Union Station after Labor Day. This is quite a milestone for the Denver Region.

Just in time....the Union Station project has a great new web site.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vestas Follow Up

The Denver Post has a great article on the Vestas investments in Colorado.

Graphic from The Denver Post.