May 5, 2022 Economic Development

Return to Office Work Event

Sarah Wiebenson, Senior Manager of Economic Development

Sarah works primarily on ground floor activations as part of the Partnership’s commitment to city building, including managing the recently launched Popup Denver program.

While attending the Partnership’s “Harnessing the Workplace” return to office (RTO) planning event at elements last week, I had three takeaways that reinforce why I focus on retail curation as a means of city-buildin; creating opportunities for face-to-face interaction and community building:

  1. Different generations approach differently the necessity of a traditional workplace. Denver’s fastest-growing demographic, Millennials, find it more productive to convene in a “third place,” like a local coffee shop or space other than work and home. Creating opportunities for these types of interactions is why I love working on activating storefronts to create a vibrant city.
  2. Face-to-face is still critical for new hires and younger employees. As someone who began working one hundred percent in-person in Denver in the past year, I can attest to how important that was for me to get to know my co-workers as well as the property owners and business owners we collaborate with to “reimagine” downtown.
  3. A “flight to quality” in downtown leasing is about more than the building itself. Commercial real estate brokers are seeing increased interest in offices that not only have internal amenities but also are located within walking distance of cafes, parks, gyms, and grocery stores. Downtown workers want to be outside, interact with other people, and not be in their cars, and they’re willing to pay a premium for it. Jane Jacobs would be proud!

Every day as more downtown workers return to their offices, I witness first-hand how their presence revitalizes the center city. I look forward to launching the Popup Denver spaces this summer to give them something new to share and explore about the community they’ve chosen for their work environment.

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Sarah Wiebenson

Vice President, Economic Development

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