Economic Development

Swiss Company, Partners Group Chooses Interlocken

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As reported in the Broomfield Enterprise, the Swiss-based company Partners Group Holding AG has announced that it is building its new North American headquarters in Broomfield Colorado.

The global private markets investment management firm has announced that it is building on nearly 13 acres on Eldorado Boulevard in Interlocken business park. The decision to locate the company’s US headquarters in Colorado is to support continued growth of its business in the region. As with any major location decision there are a number of key drivers and in this case the desire to find a location that echoed the company’s origins seems primary. Pamela Alsterlind, partner and co-head of private real estate for Partners Group was quoted as saying that the Flatirons felt “like home,” that the location “…spoke to us. We want to be in a place we can grow.”

According to their presentation to City Council on Tuesday, January 17th, the company intends to build three buildings on the 13-acre site, a 50,000 square foot office space, a 12,000 square foot conference and training building, and an 18,000 square foot amenities building. Prime West Development, LLC of Denver, is developing the project. Partners Group paid $7.1 million for the land in June with the new construction estimated to cost $40 million. With completion of the project anticipated in 2018, the company will initially employ 200 people but there will be capacity to add as many as 800 employees.

About:
Partners Group Holding AG has nearly $60 billion in assets and more than 900 employees globally across 19 worldwide offices. The company opened its first U.S. office in New York in 2000 and has additional offices in New York, San Francisco and Houston.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

 

 

State of the State – Addressing Colorado’s Infrastructure Needs

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Governor Hickenlooper delivered his State of the State address early on Thursday, January 12th to the Colorado General Assembly. Primary to his speech and building from his address to the Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance 8th Annual Legislative Breakfast the previous week, Hickenlooper reinforced the necessity for greatly increased infrastructure spending, describing it as essential to Colorado’s future. As reported in the Denverite, he also emphasized the need for us to “chart our own course” in terms of the state operating independently of the Federal government. He was quoted as saying, “But in Colorado, we’ve always been trailblazers, and now, more than ever, we need to move forward, chart our own course and focus on results. Because Colorado deserves our best efforts. And history has its eyes on us.”

Offering further details around the state’s transportation issues, Hickenlooper underscored the $9 billion deficit in unmet transportation needs without any form of gas tax increase since 1992. He reportedly asked, “…who loses healthcare or what schools have to close to add a mile of highway”?

He continued, “Whether it’s new revenue, simplifying or replacing old tax streams, or a combination of both. We can find a solution that clearly spells out to Coloradans exactly what they’re getting and how the money will be spent and how that funding can benefit rural and urban communities, support local needs and statewide projects and balance transit options with highway expansions.”

Other major topics central to his address were education funding, rural economic development, marijuana, health insurance, behavioral health and broadband. Referencing the latter, Hickenlooper reportedly acknowledged that high-speed internet should be considered critical infrastructure in the same manner as the highway system.

“Infrastructure is more than laying new roads and expanding transit. It’s running the fiber and deploying new technologies for reliable, affordable internet in every part of the state. Businesses should be able to open their doors wherever they want; especially in smaller communities.”

To that effect, Hickenlooper announced the creation of a broadband office to try and increase statewide coverage from 70 to 85 percent coverage by the end of his tenure.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance 8th Annual Legislative Breakfast

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Thursday, January 5th marked the 8th Annual Legislative Breakfast held at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield. A collaboration between Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance, the breakfast was primarily focused on transportation priorities for the 2017 legislative session including, the impacts of effective transportation on our region’s economic vitality and the future of transportation in the Northwest region.

Despite adverse weather conditions most of the 200 registered attendees made it through the snow including elected officials, business leaders and a variety of transportation partners. The Breakfast is considered integral to furthering regional progress and collaboration.

The schedule for the morning included numerous distinguished speakers among them, Governor John Hickenlooper who highlighted the gross deficiencies in transportation and infrastructure spending in Colorado. In particular, he emphasized how we are falling short of the competition against other states such as Utah, a particularly strong competitor in economic development. To emphasize his point he offered a very telling statistic, that Utah spends four times as much on infrastructure improvement despite having approximately half the population of Colorado! The reference to infrastructure here is not limited to transportation but also includes elements such as broadband development.

Among the speakers and representing the Northwest Chamber Alliance was John Tayer, President and CEO of the Boulder Chamber. Mr. Tayer spoke directly about the progress in transportation infrastructure that has been achieved thus far in the Northwest Region, in addition to some of the ongoing priorities for 2017. He emphasized the power of regional collaboration and the various entities that work together to further the region’s transportation goals from RTD to development of US 36.

As a founding member of the Northwest Chamber Alliance, the Broomfield Chamber considers regional transportation investments and accompanying legislation to be critical not only to Broomfield but to the region as a whole. Indeed, with the launch of the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition (ABEC), the Chamber reinforced the need to focus on infrastructure, identifying it as central to the overall business climate. Also representing the Northwest Chamber Alliance and in attendance at the event, Broomfield Chamber President and CEO, Jennifer Kerr, has long advocated for infrastructure development, considering it a primary concern of most of the 500 member businesses of the Broomfield Chamber. This effort that began with the Northwest Chamber Alliance is also supported by the Chamber’s Access Broomfield Economic Coalition investors.

While the event served to celebrate the various transportation successes in the region it also emphasized where we are falling short, primarily owing to outdated state funding that is simply insufficient to meet demand. Other funding mechanisms were referenced such as public, private partnerships however, the shortfall is considered too great without fundamental changes in legislation including the possibility of some form of tax. The Governor called on 2017 to be the year of transportation and we are supportive of infrastructure improvements that boost our burgeoning business climate here in Broomfield.


(Pictured Above: Bruce Partain, President and CEO of the Longmont Area Chamber, Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director of Commuting Solutions (formerly 36 Commuting Solutions), John Tayer, President and CEO of the Boulder Chamber and Jennifer Kerr, President and CEO of the Broomfield Chamber.)

About the Northwest Chamber Alliance:
The Northwest Chamber Alliance was formed in 2016 as a coalition focused on regional issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life. It is currently comprised of the Broomfield, Boulder and Longmont Chambers, representing approximately 2,400 businesses made up of 100,000 employees. These businesses range from large international corporations to small businesses, startups, nonprofits and public institutions.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

A Culture of Entrepreneurship

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Last week I attended Northglenn High School’s entrepreneurship presentations aimed at creating small business opportunities which have an impact on the local community — all with the aim of reproducing this initiative here in Broomfield.

Northglenn is known locally for its progressive programs including STEM, a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. To some extent the entrepreneurial ideas presented are an extension of the STEM ideology, integrating various disciplines into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world business ideas.

Central to each of the business concepts was the involvement of students, the utilization of existing resources at the school, and engagement with the Northglenn community. Several of the presentations revolved around hydroponics and food production from the school’s greenhouse, potentially serving both the school itself and the local community. Most encouraging was the fact that most of the ideas could be realized with little capital expenditure and within a relatively short time frame.

Obviously none of this would be possible without a dedicated team of teachers who juggle busy teaching schedules and other responsibilities between their family, classrooms, and personal time. To quote Daniel Morris, the organizational talent behind this initiative, the teachers, “did a great job outlining their goals, representing the commitment to their community and personal growth through working together as a team”.

Hopefully Northglenn High School will carry some of these ideas through to fruition and we as an economic development community will continue to support them through connections, introductions, and other general input. It should also be kept in mind that this concept is transferable, helped by connecting our local business community with our schools, an ideal that the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition hopes to propagate. We intend to create a culture of entrepreneurship here in Broomfield, encouraging young talent and creating an environment that fosters innovation and eventually new jobs and investment in our community.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2017

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On Monday December 5th, the Leeds School of Business hosted its fifty-second annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook for 2017. Held at the Grand Hyatt in Denver, the free event attracted a large audience with standing room only for the economic forecast presented by Richard Wobbekind, Executive Director of the Business Research Division at the University of Colorado and Kelly Brough, President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber. Although spearheaded by CU, the Economic Outlook has input from 100 individuals from the business, education, and government communities who serve on 13 sector estimating groups.

COLORADO
Referencing 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado continues to rank in the top ten states for real GDP and employment growth but personal income growth continues to lag, a reoccurring concern for the State. The Colorado resident labor force is forecast to reach 2.96 million in 2017, while the State unemployment rate is forecast to increase from 3.5% to 3.9% due to job creation lagging behind labor force growth. Total non-agricultural wage and salary employment is forecast to reach 2.66 million in 2017, up from 2.6 million in 2017. Colorado is anticipated to add 63,400 jobs (2.4 percent growth) in 2017 as demand for goods and services continues.

The squeeze on housing looks to continue as homes simply can’t be built fast enough to keep up with household formation which in turn leads to price escalation. Millennials (16-36) and Baby Boomers (70+) are two important groups as the former look to make first home purchases and the later look to downsize.

Although Colorado’s population growth is anticipated to slow, the north Front Range (Broomfield included) is forecast as having the fastest growth between 2015 and 2020 with an annual average increase of 2.6% or 85,000 new residents.

One important element that was outlined in the presentation is the importance of new businesses to overall economic growth. New businesses tend to create more jobs, grow faster while being responsible for greater innovation and overall productivity than older businesses. Colorado boasts the seventh highest concentration of young firms in the country, with 36.2% of all business five years and younger. Were it not for this constant supply of new businesses the Colorado economy would lose jobs in most years. This impressive high rate of entrepreneurship and new business formation is attributed to “a culture and population of risk-taking individuals, as well as a business climate that supports new businesses and a diverse base of growing industries”. Favorable age demographics and existing expertise in the State are also contributing factors. Industries with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), referred to as “high-technology” industries are the mainstay of this new business activity.

AGRICULTURE
According to the Colorado Business Outlook, there will be ongoing challenges for farmers and ranchers in 2017 as they face significantly less income with roughly the same expenses. Diversification might offer a solution were it not for the challenge of insufficient water. Established operations should see a better economic climate if they can weather the next couple of years.

OIL AND GAS
After a particularly difficult time for the Oil and Gas industry with a 25% reduction in 2016, the industry is anticipated to make further modest cuts in 2017 primarily due to continued depressed prices. However, with a new Republican president and a Republican Congress few anticipate any legislative impediments to the growth of this industry in the United States.

CONSTRUCTION
It will come as no surprise that 2016 marked the busiest year in construction activity in Colorado’s recent history. Of interest for 2017 and alluded to earlier in this blog, will be the switch from apartment construction to Single-family housing. Another likely construction focus will be schools, apparently responsible for 70% of requests on Novembers ballot. Employment in this sector is expected to increase by 5.7% in 2017.

MANUFACTURING
A $23 billion industry in Colorado, Manufacturing represents about 7.3% of the state’s GDP. The industry is anticipated to grow in 2017 which will mark the seventh consecutive year of growth. Employment is estimated to increase by approximately 1.6% with 2,300 jobs being added. Growth is expected in all sub-sectors with the exception of fabricated metals and computer and electronics.

TRADE TRANSPORTATION, AND UTILITIES
Employing nearly one-fifth of Colorado workers, this sector is is the largest provider of jobs in the State. This industry includes wholesale trade, retail trade, utilities, warehousing, and multiple facets of transportation (air, truck, transit, rail, pipeline, etc). In 2017, the sector is expected to grow another 1.6% exceeding 461,800 jobs.

INFORMATION
The information sector has realized some of the fastest, long-term growth of any sector in the Colorado economy. Even with losses in publishing and telecom the industry is expected to grow by 1,100 jobs in 2017. Growth in film, broadcasting and data processing have offset publishing with Colorado’s Film Television and Media incentives in particular having brought dividends.

FINANCIAL ACTIVITIES
Made up of Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Rental and Leasing, this sector has been experiencing continued growth in Colorado since 2012. And although encountering a moderate slowdown in 2016, the sector is expected to increase by 5,300 jobs in 2017 to a total of 169,400 buoyed by an improvement of the overall economy.

PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES
Nearly 16% or 406,000 of Colorado’s total employment fall into this category with a further 7,000 jobs projected to be added in 2017, the vast majority of which will be in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.

LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY
A key industry in Colorado, the Leisure and Hospitality industry accounts for more than one in eight jobs in the State and has seen consecutive employment growth over the last seven years. Employment growth in this sector is anticipated to continue in 2017, increasing by 12,000 jobs or 3.7%.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

Do Net Migration Figures Suggest Slower Growth?

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Denver and the surrounding metropolitan statistical area (MSA) which includes Broomfield, has been growing at an unprecedented pace but according to the apartment listing site Abodo, net migration figures reported by the Census Bureau tell a slightly different story.

Of the 50 most-populated metropolitan areas in the country, the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood MSA ranks second for the largest percentage of new residents from elsewhere in the U.S. at 9.44 percent between 2014-2015. We have of course been hearing similar statistics for months. However, according to Abodo, the same Denver-Aurora-Lakewood MSA also lost residents at 9.25 percent, resulting in a net migration of merely 0.19 percent. It should be noted that these figures do not take into account Coloradans moving from another area in the State to the MSA.

Extrapolating on this data it is unclear why these migration figures are so stark but career development as professionals “chase careers into the city, and continue to chase them out” is put forward as one theory by Abodo. What is abundantly clear is that the population of the United States is one of the most mobile in the world and Millennials drive this pattern making up 43 percent of all movers between 2007 and 2012.

With rising costs in our largest cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, mid-size MSAs such as ours currently remain attractive due to lower rents, a lower cost of living, an increasingly robust job market and in our case the unique outdoor lifestyle available in Colorado. We shouldn’t however ignore overall net migration nor underestimate the impact of our own rising costs particularly around housing.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

Boulder Sugar Tax – What Happens Next?

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On election day, City of Boulder residents passed what will become the nation’s highest tax on sugary drinks at 2 cents per ounce. For the purposes of the ordinance, any drinks with more than 5 grams of added sugar per 12 ounces will be subject to the tax. The ordinance is scheduled to come into effect on July 1st.

Looking to some of the other US cities that have implemented similar taxes, there are many questions around implementation. For example, what will occur with health-oriented drinks such as Kombucha, will exceptions be made? Another primary issue is around distribution, will city-based businesses simply drive outside the City limits to purchase these beverages wholesale and thereby avoid the tax altogether?

Lastly, no exact determination has been made regarding the revenue that will be raised from this new tax, an anticipated $3.8 million in the first year. The ordinance calls for the money to be earmarked for public health programming but no details have been specified and no committee convened to make such determinations.

So, many questions surround the Boulder Sugar Tax, not least its efficacy, with numerous jurisdictions up and down the Front Range looking to see what happens next.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

Area Home Inventory Set to Increase in 2017

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Residential Real Estate

Part of a series of presentations at the Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference held at the University of Colorado Tuesday, November 15th, Realtor D.B. Wilson began the morning with an insight into the residential market predicting that both inventory and the time a home is on the market will both increase modestly in 2017.

Fueled by both historically low interest rates and low unemployment, inventory is at its “lowest in 16 years,” Wilson said. As a result, Colorado ranks number 3 in the country for home price appreciation, almost double the national average of 5.6 percent.

Despite double digit home value appreciation on 2016, Wilson stated that lack of inventory negatively impacted sales in 2016 and that this trend should ease somewhat in 2017.

Due to a combination of demand from new incoming residents and the current construction defects law, new construction will likely be focused on town-homes and condominiums, Wilson reported. There is however no low-end price relief in sight, as many of these new projects are higher spec leaving still greater demand for affordable housing throughout the Boulder Valley, a topic addressed later during the conference.

In his predictions for 2017, Wilson anticipates area home price appreciation between 9-11 percent (including Broomfield) which will remain some the highest growth in the country.

Commercial Real Estate

Reporting on commercial real estate trends, Angela Topel with Gibbons-White Inc., remarked on the number of cranes visible throughout the Boulder Valley, indicative of the current growth trend. She did however warn that there might be a market correction in 2017/18 due to the unprecedented growth seen thus far although she did not elucidate.

Offering some predictions for the next quarter, Topel said there will be about 1.3 million square feet of leasable office, retail and industrial space in Boulder, including space currently under construction.

Comparing office vacancy rates around the Boulder Valley, we are just under 10 percent in Broomfield, compared to 9 percent in Longmont, and roughly 6 percent in Louisville and Lafayette. Interestingly, Boulder is reported to be at about 7 percent citywide however, the vacancy rate is closer to between 11-13 percent when sublease space is taken into consideration.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

National Association of Manufacturers Call for Unity

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Referencing the highly contentious presidential election, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) have gathered pledges from manufacturing and business leaders across the country in an effort to rebuild trust in our democratic and economic institutions, with the singular purpose of offering “abundant opportunity to all”.

In a call to respect the office of the President, NAM have stated that they will share ideas and expertise with President-elect Trump and the 115th Congress for the purposes of celebrating and defending the principles of “free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity”.

NAM also state that they expect our newly elected leaders to not get caught up with “political extremes” but to focus entirely on solutions to lift up all Americans, thereby bringing about widespread growth and prosperity in this country. The association will offer greater detail regarding these solutions over the coming weeks.

See more at: http://www.nam.org/Newsroom/Press-Releases/2016/11/Manufacturers-to-President-Elect–We-Are-the-Solution/#sthash.dHxGGTVj.dpuf

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

Advanced Manufacturer Leaving Broomfield

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As reported in Biz West and the Daily Camera, Forge Nano, formerly known as PneumatiCoat Technologies, will soon be operating in Louisville. The move comes after the company sought $20 million in Series A funding to increase its production from a 30-ton per-year pilot plant to a 300-ton per-year light commercial production plant.

Forge Nano, which specializes in nano-coating technology for batteries and works with the likes of LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic currently employs 17 people but anticipates that number should grow to 20 by the end of this year and 40 the end of next year with the increased production.

Obviously it is wonderful to see a local company born out of the University of Colorado grow and succeed but somewhat bittersweet to see them leave Broomfield, particularly as they now look to double their workforce.

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To learn more about Broomfield’s exciting new economic development program, the Access Broomfield Economic Coalition, click here.

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