Tuesday, December 21, 2010

NASA Agreement with CAMT to Promote Technology Commercialization and Clean Energy

The excerpt below from a NASA Press Release does a good job of explaining the public private partnership (a.k.a. The Space Act Agreement) created between NASA and the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology (CAMT) to promote space technology commercialization, clean energy, aerospace and economic development in Colorado. The partnership, which will be housed in a newly built research park at a site in Colorado which has yet to be selected, could create up to 10,000 jobs over the next five years in the Front Range.

[NASA and Colorado officials sign Space Act Agreement creating public private partnership. Photo courtesy NASA/Bill Ingalls from www.whitehouse.gov]

"NASA's agreement with the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and
Technology (CAMT) created a Technology Acceleration Program and Regional
Innovation Cluster for Aerospace and Clean Energy. A manufacturing park focused on rapid new product development and production will be developed to assist growing Colorado businesses.

"This park will use Colorado's existing competitive strengths to boost
economic growth while creating new jobs and products for aerospace and energy
industries," Garver said. "NASA is pleased to collaborate on new technology
developments like the one being created through the Colorado Technology
Acceleration Program and Regional Innovation Cluster."

Under the agreement, small and mid-sized businesses will have direct access
to a NASA "innovation ambassador," an agency expert who can identify NASA and
partner technologies ready for commercialization. The ambassador will conduct
forums to drive partnerships among NASA and Colorado businesses and help
identify businesses that can benefit from commercialization technical

"The new agreement with NASA is a perfect fit for Colorado because it will
enhance our leading aerospace industry and growing high-tech business and
research sectors," Ritter said. "Most importantly, this will bring high-tech
jobs to our state. Colorado is a hub for innovation and continues to attract the
best and the brightest workers. Congratulations to CAMT and NASA for making this
historic agreement."

[Image from NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org]

The Technology Acceleration Program will allow companies to work with NASA and expedite product development from an average of five years to as little as
18 months. New products will get to market more quickly, and new high tech jobs will be created. "Aerospace and energy are the fastest growing industries in Colorado, sharing the same supply base and similar workforce needs," said Elaine Thorndike, chief executive officer of CAMT.

"Through regional innovation clusters, public and private sectors can work
together to increase business opportunities, technical assistance programs and
market penetration for aerospace and clean energy manufacturing strength."

The NASA-CAMT partnership will provide technical assistance and identify
gaps in commercialization and scouting services to help companies looking for
space-developed technologies and services. It will help companies bridge the gap
between prototype design, manufacturing and commercialization, while identifying
commercial applications for NASA technologies."


  • Daily Camera articles here and here.
  • Colorado Association for Manufacturing Technology (CMAT).
  • White House Office of Science and Technology Policy story.
  • Remarks of CMAT CEO Elaine Thorndike.
  • CMAT description of Technology Acceleration Program.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Exports from Colorado: A Bit of Good News?

Colorado, a land locked state with a relatively small manufacturing base, has traditionally been a weak exporter. According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation's report Toward a More Competitive Colorado, the state's ranking in per capita export dollars was 47th, the fourth lowest in the U.S. in 2008 and down from a ranking of 33rd in 2000.

However there are some signs of improvement. The Denver Post recently wrote about a modest recovery in Colorado exports this year and Slate did a business feature profiling the challenges faced by the innovative "clean tech" air conditioning manufacturer Coolerado, based in Denver, that is exporting highly efficient cooling systems to the Middle East and around the world.

Given the weak U.S. economy and the economic growth occurring in developing countries, increasing exports of goods and services is a potential pathway to success for companies in Colorado.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brookings/Leinberger: The Next Real Estate Boom

The Brookings Institutes's Metropolitan Policy Program continually puts out excellent work.
Christoper Leinberger's recent short article, The Next Real Estate Boom, does an insightful job of weaving together a multitude of ideas and trends into an analysis for holistically tackling many of the most vexing economic and public policy questions faced in the United States today. All of the following and more are discussed in an interrelated way:

1) The increasing demand for walkable, transit-oriented, mixed use neighborhoods
2) The current Great Recession and how to get the economy moving forward
3) Global economic competition
4) Global warming and energy policy
5) Transportation policy and infrastructure investments
6) Demographic trends from the Baby Boomers to Generation Y
8) The emergence of Salt Lake City as a potent economic hub with a unique sense of place (an area of notable concern for this blog)
9) Reforming Fannie and Freddie

Thinking about Metro Denver, this article helped reinforce for me the critical importance of finding a way to move ahead with the full FasTracks program to help the region build a successful future.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Carnival Cafe and the history of Natural and Organic Foods in Boulder

I wanted to share an excellent article from the Boulder Weekly by Roger Freed from this August about the Carnival Cafe and the counter-cultural milieu from the 1960s and 1970s in my hometown of Boulder which ultimately incubated a potent regional cluster of wholesale and retail business in the natural and organic foods sectors in the Boulder area. See quote below:

"The Carnival Cafe was a colorful potpourri of enthusiastic alternatives. Vibrant posters papered the walls, and plants possessed corners and overflowed from shelves. A huge, U-shaped , glass display counter dominated the middle of the main dining room and housed hand-made trinkets for sale and whole-grain goodies generous in their size , price and healthy ingredients. The insider name of the bakery section was "the Dateful Bread." Behind the back counter, bangel bedecked girls in tie-dye T-shirts and saris baked next to the long-haired fellows in sandals who were cooking."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

No on 60, 61 and 101

This blog takes a non-partisan tone and stance on economic development issues in the Denver Region.

However, I want to clearly state that passage of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 would be economically devastating for Colorado and these ballot items should be rejected by state voters with "NO" votes.

These three items would cut the school property tax mill levy by 50%, eliminate state bond financing to support infrastructure projects and capital investments (and vastly curtail the ability of local governments to use bond financing) and reduce the state income tax which supports education, health care and transportation. Collectively these items would devastate K-12 and state sponsored higher education in Colorado, cripple the state's ability to invest in critical infrastructure projects and lead to devastating losses of jobs and economic competitiveness.

Tom Clark from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation provided a compelling assessment of these items as "Job Killing Measures" in the Colorado Energy News website.

Please vote "NO" on 60, 61, and 101 and visit the web site donthurtcolorado for more information.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Boulder: Braniest, Foodiest, Best Town for Startups

Kudos to my hometown for all the recent kudos:

If that is not enough, Denver was ranked the 8th Smartest Large Metro Area by CNN.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Competitive Threat to the Denver Region from Salt Lake City

Both the University of Colorado and the University of Utah are joining the Pac-10 conference in the next two years. Colorado, the first school to receive the invitation was a key prize in the Pac-10's expansion, long courted by the conference along with the University of Texas. Utah, was almost a consolation prize. Less prestigious and less of a traditional football power than Colorado, the Salt Lake City based university was only offered membership after a Texas-led coalition turned the Pac-10 down.

However, the actual current competitive athletic balance between the Universities of Colorado and Utah in the key revenue generating sports of football and men's basketball favors Utah. In fact, today, its not an exaggeration to say that Utah has an overwhelming (and embarrassing) competitive advantage over Colorado as the two schools prepare to join the Pac-10 and renew their "natural geographic rivalry."

This story about competitiveness in intercollegiate athletics can also be seen as a potent analogy about economic competitiveness between the two regions and should serve as a warning to civic leaders and public officials in the Denver region.

People in Metro Denver are used to thinking about Salt Lake City like a much younger sibling, sharing some of the same family traits but not as fully developed and not a real threat to the Denver region's status in the world. Economic development officials in Colorado have targeted recruitment efforts and marketing campaigns in California, Arizona and Texas but have not focused as heavily on Utah.

However, from my very first blog entry more than three years ago I have been contemplating the regional competitive threat that Salt Lake City posses to Denver's economic vitality. The two region's are far enough apart that there is not much beneficial spill over of economic activity from one to the other but at the same time are geographically close enough together in the Mountain Time Zone that they can serve as substitutes for each other. Utah has outstanding recreational amenities --world class skiing is closer to Salt Lake City than it is to Denver. Salt Lake City has raised its international profile by successfully hosting a Winter Olympics while Denver shirked its earlier opportunity. The possibility that the merged United-Continental will shrink its Denver United hub while retaining or growing its Salt Lake City Continental hub is a real threat to Denver International Airport. Additionally economic development gurus have recently been citing Salt Lake City as a top technopole. In the Milken Institutes's report, The Best Performing Cities of 2009, Salt Lake City is the number 3 ranked best performing large city but Denver is only 55 (Fort Collins and Boulder are 22 and 44 respectively).

Denver's long term economic vitality is dependent on competing globally for capital investments, talent, corporate jobs and headquarters. The Front Range's global competitiveness will be undermined if it has to play second fiddle in its home region in the Rocky Mountains.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Davita Announces Location Near Union Station

(Artist rendering of proposed Davita Headquarters, Downloaded from DenverInfill blog, Courtesy of Davita Inc./Moma Architecture)

Davita, the Fortune 500 kidney care company that is relocating its corporate headquarters to Denver, selected a site at 2000 16th street, near Union Station for its new building. The 14 story 270,000 square foot building is expected to cost around $100 million to develop and will initially house an estimated 450 employees. The relocation of a new corporate headquarters to Denver, near Union Station, is great news during the current economic environment for a number of reasons.

  1. It will bring much needed short term construction and long term corporate jobs to the region.

  2. It is a vote of confidence in the Union Station redevelopment efforts, boosting the property tax revenues in the district and helping to ensure repayment of the tax increment financing (TIF) bonds used to fund the redevelopment.

  3. The location near the FasTracks public transportation hub is great example of sustainable, green, dense, infill growth.

  4. Its a boost for downtown Denver which is reeling from the recent loss of notable headquarters such as Qwest.

  5. Fortune 500 relocations are rare and have been hard to achieve particularly in Denver and bring prestige and professional services jobs with them (local finance, accounting, consulting, and business services companies get a boost). Davita also plans to house its corporate training hub in this facility so it will bring thousands of business travelers into downtown Denver each year.

  6. Davita's choice to be an owner-occupier of their building instead of a lessee in a multi-tenant office tower, increases the probability that the building will be an architecturally distinctive signature tower. Compared to speculative developers, owner-occupiers tend to spend more on architecture and design, seeing their building's as embodiments of corporate character instead of just trying to maximize the cash flows of their assets.

This development along with the decision by IMA Financial Group to locate its headquarters in one of the Union Station "wing" buildings, clearly shows the powerful gravitational pull of FasTracks. According to the Denver Post quoting, Davita CEO Kent Thiry, on the location decision:

"It's going to be great for our teammates," Thiry said. "The fact that there's so many forms of mass transit, the fact that there will be a huge variety of places where people can live conveniently and the fact that there will be such easy access to restaurants, shopping, entertainment, all while being in a green environment is sort of a rare combination."

The Davita announcement is great news for economic activity in all of downtown Denver. However, I am also thinking that this is the beginning of a trend where the classic 17th street office corridor in downtown Denver, nicknamed "the Wall Street of the Rockies," could struggle to retain tenants and lease space while Union Station and Lower Downtown thrives. 17th Street landlords and property owners must be strategizing about how they can "pick up their game" with increased amenities and attractions or suffer a relative decline in their fortunes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Front Range Cluster Deepens

[Photo to left from www.vestas.com/, concept of new research facility planned for Louisville, CO]

This past week there were a several exciting sustainable energy announcements in Metro Denver boosting the status of the regional green energy cluster.

Vestas announced it will open an R&D engineering site in Louisville, Colorado strengthening the company's presence in the Front Range.

The U.S. Department of Energy granted two Metro Denver companies, ADA-ES in Littleton and Ion Engineering in Boulder, $14 million to fund development of technology to capture carbon dioxide released during the burning of coal in electric power plants.

President Obama announced a $400 million federal loan guarantee to Abound Solar, a Loveland-based company, started in part by Colorado State University engineering faculty. The federally financed expansion will bring an estimated 300 new jobs to the company's manufacturing facility in Longmont.

The Vestas Press Release describes the importance of Colorado to the company's long term plans and the reasons behind its decision to concentrate its North American production facilities in the state.

"Denver, Colo. – (July 7, 2010) – Vestas, the world’s leader in producing high-tech wind power systems, announced today that it will open an Engineering Site in Louisville, Colo., to support Vestas Global and enhance Vestas’ wind power production capabilities throughout North America. Vestas will move 46 employees into 47,675 square feet of space on Centennial Parkway, Louisville starting today, and will expand this team to include up to 125 highly skilled engineers within a year’s time.

The Vestas Engineering Site will enhance Vestas’ ability to integrate product development by placing it close to the company’s three factories – a blades’ factory in Windsor, a nacelles-assembly factory in Brighton and towers’ factory Pueblo, thereby better servicing and meeting the needs of Vestas’ North American customers.

“Vestas has made a deep commitment to Colorado, which is evidenced in our factories and the establishment of the Engineering Site. We are extremely committed to Colorado, and we look forward to a long, successful relationship here,” said Finn Madsen, President Vestas Technology R&D. “By co-locating engineering and design competencies with the production cluster in Colorado, the proximity of Technology R&D to manufacturing creates significant efficiencies that can be passed along as a direct benefit to our customers.”

Vestas decided to build its North American production facilities in Colorado because of the state’s central location, extensive transportation infrastructure and rail system, existing manufacturing base and skilled workforce. "

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Buffs Join Pac-10

(Photo from Pac-10 website http://www.pac-10.org/)

As a native Boulderite, long time Buffs fan who grew up going to CU football games and Pac-10 school alumni who holds Cal Men's Basketball season tickets to this day, I feel compelled to comment on the the recent announcement that CU will be joining the Pac-10 along with Utah to create the Pac-12.

First, a note about my recent dearth of blog entries. In May and June, both my wife and my mother were ill. Thankfully, both are doing much better now and I have the time and energy to return to blogging.

From an economic development perspective this announcement is a very positive step for Boulder and Metro Denver because it helps reinforce existing academic, scientific, geographic and cultural ties between Colorado and the West Coast of the United States where a significant degree of scientific and technological innovation occurs. To take one small example of the scientific brain power on the West Coast, the University of California at Berkeley, where I went to graduate school, is the only school that I know of that has so many Nobel Laureates on the Faculty that it dedicates a parking lot for prize winners with free parking in the center of campus. CU's affiliation with the Pac-10 schools will buttress the Metro Denver area's status as a regional "technopole" and help tie Boulder to the innovation infrastructure in Silicon Valley.

For many years Colorado has felt competing gravitational pulls between Texas and the West Coast. The New York Times once described Denver as a mix between Portland, Oregon and Houston, Texas. By taking its flagship public university into the Pac-10 (and turning away from the Texas dominated Big 12), Colorado is pointing west towards a future where global economic influence shifts to the Pacific Rim and technological innovation remains a key to economic success.

Now a bit about what all this means from a football rivalry perspective. One of the things that makes college football so compelling is continuity and the loss of the Nebraska and other Big Eight rivalries is undoubtedly a blow to tradition. I will certainly miss the annual post-thanksgiving game against the Huskers. Nebraska undoubtedly got the better of this series but CU got in a few good shots over the years (can anyone say "62-36" or "back to back Big Eight champs 1989 and 1990"?). The CU-Nebraska rivalry has always had a bit of a nasty edge to it with Nebraska partisans thinking the Buffs were not a worthy rival and CU fans smug, but accurate, sense of geographic superiority over "corn land." Things really heated up in the 1980s when Bill McCartney painted the Nebraska game in RED CAPs on the Colorado schedule and Tom Osborne treacherously cost the Buffs the 1990 UPI National Championship in the Coaches' Poll by voting for Georgia Tech.

If Nebraska had broken up the Big 12 by heading to the Big 10 and Colorado had ended up in the Mountain West due the machinations of Texas politics it would have been a final Husker insult to Colorado that would have stung for decades. In any case, Colorado now has a chance to revive a classic geographic rivalry with our new Pac-12 travel partner, the University of Utah, a budding football powerhouse. The Buffs are going to have to rev up our athletic program to compete with the Pac-10 and our new foes in Salt Lake City.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Post's Ed Quillen On the Denver's Loss of HQ's

Ed Quillen has a interesting opinion piece in the Post on Denver's loss of corporate HQs. He cites one of the most brilliant urban writers, Jane Jacobs' and her theory of important replacement as the key to a region growing its own HQ locations organically.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

OpenEI: A Tremendous Resource on Renewable Energy

I wanted to do a short post about OpenEI, a tremendous new resource on the renewable energy economy sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The site, still in beta mode, uses Wiki collaboration to document, catalogue and analyses the renewable energy sector in the U.S. and globally.

A couple of interesting tidbits from the site:

The Qwest Loss: A Quick Reaction

There is no way to spin the Qwest acquisition by CenturyTel as a positive development for the Denver Region. This is depressingly bad news for the local economy. The loss of Denver's largest corporate HQ will have painful and far reaching implications.

This development once again raises the issue of why Metro Denver with its educated work force, excellent infrastructure, high quality of living, outstanding recreational and cultural amenities, tradition of good government, healthy regional cooperation and decision-making, and strong clusters of industries seems to always struggle in maintaining and attracting high profile corporate HQs. Is it the region's spatial isolation from other major business centers, relatively small population, bad luck, lack of regional dominance over any single sector, relative scarcity of certain professional and financial services (advertising agencies, accounting, investment banking, consulting), other reasons not yet identified or some combination of the above?

Whatever the cause, this is a bitter pill to swallow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Daniel Gross On The Recovery: An Example from Colorado

Financial and economic writer Daniel Gross has an insightful piece in Slate on why the U.S. economic recovery will be stronger and faster than many experts predict. Gross cites the emerging wind energy cluster in the Colorado's "Renewable Range" as an example of an emerging ecosystem which has the potential to create a huge amount of new economic activity.

"Skepticism about the potential for millions of "green jobs" to materialize
overnight is warranted. But in some areas, a process similar to the iTunes
experience is developing. The Danish wind-turbine maker Vestas in recent years
has announced investments of nearly $1 billion in wind-turbine-manufacturing
plants in Colorado, which, when completed, will directly employ about 2,500
people. But Vestas has also attracted a dozen-odd suppliers, including
components producers like Aluwind, PMC Technology, Bach Composite, and Hexcel.
And it's not just about the hardware. Renewable Energy Systems Americas, the
largest manager of wind farms, moved its corporate headquarters to Broomfield,
Colo., in 2008. Last month Colorado mandated that 30 percent of the state's
energy be produced from renewable sources by 2020. "

This is Gross' second mention of the wind energy story in Colorado, that I am aware of, so he must be tracking developments in Denver closely.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Financial Services and Technology Customer Service Jobs: A Trend in Metro Denver?

One positive economic development trend which seems to be emerging is financial and technology companies like, Charles Schwab, IBM, and Intuit, locating and expanding upper end customer service call centers in the Denver region. The region's highly technically skilled labor pool, business friendly climate, relatively low cost of living (compared to places like California) and Mountain Time Zone all seem to be positive factors helping to attract these jobs. These inroads are good news for the region's economy. What would be even better for Colorado, is if the region could attract and incubate more global corporate headquarters in addition to these regional, back office operations.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Westword on DIA's Future

Westword publishes an occasional excellent long form feature article on the Denver Region's future. These discussions are packed with detailed information not available in other news outlets. The latest by Alan Prendergast, "DIA Dreams," is about the future plans for the Denver Region's main airport. For a link to the Westword take on the Union Station redevelopment see my previous blog entry on Joel Warner's outstanding 2008 story.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Boulder: The New (Green and Crunchy) Peoria

My beloved hometown, the eco-fabulous, natural foods and outdoor recreation mecca of Boulder, Colorado has seen its global profile raised by a couple of recent corporate announcements by international consumer brands the Mars Candy Company and Wenger, the swiss army knife maker. Boulder, it seems, has become a highly desirable test market for global brands seeking to increase their presence in the healthy living, outdoor recreation, and natural foods sectors - kind of like a green and crunchy version of that old middle American stalwart test market - Peoria, Illinois. I guess the theory is if it plays in Boulder, it will play in similar upscale demographic enclaves around the nation.


Press Release: Mars Chocolate North America Introduces goodnessKnows™ Luscious Snacksquares Brand to Boulder, Colo. Market

“HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. --- Mars Chocolate North America announced today the
premiere of goodnessKnows™ luscious snacksquares in Boulder, Colo.

'This area is world-famous for its emphasis on and appreciation of −
healthy living,' said Suzanne Stites, cocoa flavanol platform leader, Mars
Chocolate, North America. 'If we can get a stamp of approval from Colorado’s
discerning, health-conscious consumers, then consumers everywhere should embrace this new snack!' "

Press Release: Wenger Announces Plans For Retail Store in Boulder, CO

"February 24, 2010 — Wenger, Maker of the Genuine Swiss Army Knife, and
Established Brands International today announced plans to open its first United
States retail store, to be located on iconic Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado.
The 3,000-square foot retail shop, scheduled to open in April, 2010 will be
situated in the heart of Boulder’s historic downtown district.

The new retail store... will be designed in a vintage, natural environment,
to reflect one of the most highly recognized outdoor brands in the world in one
of the most outdoor-centric locations within the United States. The Pearl Street
site will be the first retail outlet in the U.S. to house Wenger’s entire global
family of products and will serve as a key facility to launch new product

'Boulder provides a sense of authenticity for all things and activities
pertaining to the outdoors,' said Ron Page, CEO Established Brands
International. 'It’s a perfect fit for us.' "


Although the tone in the first part of this blog post was a bit bemused, this is serious business for Boulder which is uniquely positioned as an innovator in the natural and organic food and outdoor recreation industries. Boulder's long-term economic vitality depends in part on growing these segments of the local economy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Louisville and ConocoPhillips Working Together on Campus Planning

The Daily Camera reported that the Louisville Planning Commission and ConocoPhillips seem to be having a productive working relationship in planning the company's proposed research and training campus at the former StorageTek site off U.S. 36.

This project is one of the most important economic development efforts underway in the Denver Region and is critical to the growth of the region's sustainable energy cluster.

For more information about this project see the ConocoPhillips web site and these previous blog entries.

Image above from ConocoPhillips web site.

IBM's "Quiet" Layoffs in Boulder

The Denver Post recently published an article about IBM layoffs in Boulder. The company has been very quiet about this "resource action" which reportedly impacted 2,800 workers across the country and all the Post deduced was that it was not a large layoff because it did not trigger Colorado state labor laws that require public disclosure about the size of the impact. IBM currently has 2,800 employees in Boulder and it is the largest private employer there.

I am wondering how this will impact the company's plans to hire 500 new customer service workers in Boulder.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Qwest Leasing Plans Not Great News for Downtown

The Post reports Qwest's commitment to downtown Denver may be waning. This is not good news for economic vitality, office occupancy, rental rates, and future office tower development in downtown.

Photo from Kevin Moloney/Getty Images via www.minnestoapublicradio.org

SF Chronicle: Colorado Sends Love to Califonria Firms

Colorado economic development officials are continuing efforts to woo California companies to the Centennial State according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"It being Valentines Day, the State of Colorado is once gain sending California hearts and tlowers, this year accompanied by an official declaration from Gov. Bill Ritter that "Colorado Loves California." Tokens of affection include "Valentines Day cards and chocolates from Colorado to 500 California executives," and "20 Colorado Cupids, with bow and arrows in tow, passing out chocolates, information on Colorado and perhaps a few hugs to Californians," in downtown L.A."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Civic Choices: Post Card from Birmingham

I just spent a weekend in Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama. According to locals I met, Birmingham has been hampered in its economic development by the horrible legacy of Jim Crow and also by a lack of vision and poor decision making among civic leaders. Birmingham lost out on the southern Delta Airlines hub to Atlanta due to a lack of support from local business and government officials. This helped Hartsfield Airport and metro Atlanta become regional powerhouses sucking corporate headquarters, economic activity and regional prosperity away from Birmingham. Birmingham also lost out on the SEC football championship game, which it hosted for the first two years, to Atlanta.

In contrast, the City of Denver and its citizens have made a string of public investments and good decisions. However, with a reckoning day approaching for the FasTracks project, the question is, will the region's voters and taxpayers step up to save the comprehensive region-wide network, or will the project collapse due to financial pressure and regional political squabbles and be limited to a few discrete lines? If Denver falters in its drive to improve its infrastructure and bolster its economic competitiveness, other cities are waiting in the wings, to take over Denver's role as the primary economic hub in the Intermountain West. That other Delta Airlines hub city, Salt Lake City is a serious threat.

Metro Denver must keep its forward looking vision and track record of public investment and find a way to fund the full FasTracks system and avoid the mistakes of Birmingham.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Denver Post: Colorado Companies' Get Green Job Tax Credits

The Denver Post reported that six Colorado companies got green federal tax credits totaling $75.2 million: Abound Solar, Advanced Energy Industries, Coolerado Corp., ReflecTech, Hexcel Corp., Vestas Blades America Inc., and Vestas Towers America Inc.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Colorado State Spending on Higher Education: When Frugality Becomes Parsimoniousness

Colorado taxpayers and voters have a well deserved reputation for frugality and keeping taxes relatively low which can be a positive factor when companies make site selection decisions. However, frugality can turn into parsimoniousness. Two recent publications I noticed have led me to think this is occurring with regard to state funding of higher education in Colorado.

1) A Denver Post article talking about CU Denver's Medical School accreditation being imperiled by the dearth of state sponsorship.

2) Colorado's ranking is 47th among the 50 states on per pupil state spending on higher education according to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation's Annual Report, Toward a More Competitive Colorado.

Despite the economic pressures of the current recession, public officials and voters would be well-advised to keep the long-term future in mind and raise more public funds to invest in higher education and other key infrastructure in Colorado.

PMC Technology Wind Energy Company Coming to Golden

This blog entry from John Rebchook's Inside Real Estate News is a month old but its worth reading. Denmark-based wind energy component manufacturer PMC Technology is locating its North American HQ and first operations facility in Golden, near the NREL, the Colorado School of Mines and not far from Vestas, a big customer, in Brighton. The cluster grows.

See Margret Jackson's article from The Denver Post here.