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

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.