National Western expansion to reshape Denver’s landscape

Denver landscape

As commercial construction reaches at least a 5-year high in the Denver area, demand is beginning to generate healthy revenue for property owners despite average rent prices dipping slightly from recent months. With industrial sites in the Denver area leasing for $7.28 per square foot on average, property owners are finding the new National Western Center expansion challenging to cope with.

After voters approved borrowing and tourist tax extensions in November to provide the bulk of the funding for the $1.1 billion National Western Center project, the city is now on track with plans to transform the National Western Complex and Denver Coliseum to a year-round destination and global hub for agriculture and innovation. To do so 106 acres of private property need to be bought by the city.

Businesses that face relocation due to the planned development have the city council’s guarantee that they will be offered an alternative within city limits. As part of the fabric of Denver, these companies have helped the city grow and contributed to the development of the local construction labor market.

The new National Western Center development aims to have a range of “office, laboratory and food testing and production type spaces that will create a broad range of job opportunities that will be far broader and more diverse in skill requirements and experiences than what is there today,” said Kelly Leid, executive director of Denver’s Office of the National Western Center.

Because Denver’s other industrial spaces cost more to rent or own than the land around the stock show, finding a new spot will likely be challenging for the companies sitting on the 26 commercial parcels the city is acquiring for the stock show expansion.

The city started the process of purchasing properties in April last year and has closed on four commercial properties in the expansion path. The National Western expansion comes after a line of developments like the TAXI in RiNo that have been taking parts from industrial spots in Denver and shrinking them or replacing them with retail or residential construction to meet the needs of the changing and growing city landscape.

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