2019 State of Downtown Denver Report Outlines Statistics, Accolades Behind a Thriving Downtown
DENVER, CO– The Downtown Denver Partnership released today its 2019 State of Downtown Denver Report. The report, funded in part by the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, is the most comprehensive statistical looks at the stories and statistics behind a thriving Downtown Denver, detailing increasing investment, strong office market fundamentals, a growing and highly-educated workforce, and a vibrant residential population in our center city.
The report highlights the impact of place-based economic development efforts to meet the vision outlined in the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, the long-term strategy for downtown. Highlights from the 2019 State of Downtown Denver report include:
Development and Investment
With a vision for the future, developers are responding to increased demand for residential, office, and hotel product propelled by strong population and job growth. Forty-eight new projects were recently completed, planned, or are underway representing $3 billion in investment. This investment will bring Downtown Denver to a total of 40 hotels, 10,700 hotel rooms, 13,285 residential units, and nearly 40 million square feet of office space.
Office Market and Employers
Our downtown economy continues to diversify. Downtown is the center of the region’s tech workforce, with nearly 12k workers in tech downtown. That is up 14% year-over-year and has more than doubled since 2010.
An increasing number of companies are relocating or expanding to Downtown Denver, indicative of its reputation as one of the best places in the country to start and grow a business. Dozens of major companies opened a new office or moved their HQ to our downtown over the past year such as VF Corporation, Slack, and Quizlet.
Downtown Denver’s highly educated (72% of adults hold a bachelor’s degree or higher) and in-demand workforce is growing to support the center city as an epicenter of business and innovation. City building efforts continue to pay dividends, with nearly 5,500 new jobs downtown representing over 4% annual growth which far outpaces that of the region, state and nation. Companies are choosing downtown because they see it as the center of an incredible talent pool.
The downtown population continues to boom, growing another 13% last year; now nearly 26,000 people are living downtown—more than ever before. Downtown Denver has added almost 20,000 residents in less than 20 years, with today’s population at 25,727. Residential growth will continue, with forecasts indicating downtown will be home to nearly 33,000 people by 2023.
The surrounding center city neighborhoods have seen a similarly fast-paced climb in population, with an increase of 10.5% over the past year, bringing the population of the center city neighborhoods to 88,670.
Retail and Restaurants
Retail sales in Downtown Denver remain strong, evidenced by 6% annual growth. Increasing sales are reflective of Downtown’s growing residential population, daytime employee population (up 4%) and visitors (17.4 million overnight trips). Two of the largest industry categories, Restaurants (41% of total sales) and Hotel and Other Accommodation Services (25% of total sales) witnessed growth of 4.8% and 11%, respectively.
A robust mobility network enhances options for all downtown users, connecting to surrounding neighborhoods and strengthening economic development opportunities. In 2018, 35.4% percent of commuters drove alone, representing a 5% decrease from the year before. Therefore, an increasing number are walking, biking, or using a moped/scooter/motorcycle to get to work. Comprehensive details about commuting trends is available in the Downtown Denver Commuter Survey Report.
Tourism and Attractions
Downtown Denver is a world-class destination which welcomed 17.4 million overnight visitors who spent $5.6 billion. Downtown’s 40 hotels with 10,700 rooms and more than 568K square feet of meeting space have seen strong growth. Hotel room and meeting places represents $750 million in economic impact. Hotel occupancy rates were down slightly (2%) to 77.3% in 2018 as over 9,000 new hotel rooms came online or are planned metro-wide. Average Daily Rates held steady at $187.10, which represents a nominal (0.5%) increase over 2017.
Public Space and Activation
Downtown Denver has over 150 acres of parks and open space, including Commons Park (20 acres) and Civic Center Park (12 acres). With Denver’s growing population, Denverites are getting more use out of park space. More public art (over 110 pieces concentrated downtown, cafés (over 15,00 square feet of outdoor space in total), programming, and lighting are leading to additional opportunities to enjoy parks and open spaces in Downtown Denver.
The Downtown Denver Partnership is launching the Urban Forest Initiative, a $7.5 million effort to build the downtown tree canopy, with funding support from the City, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, property owners, and private philanthropy. In time, this initiative will more than double the downtown tree canopy bringing economic, health, and social benefits for decades to come.