Adams County on a roll

Adams County
Adams County expects to welcome 3,500 new jobs this year from one company. Adams County will be the fastest growing county in the Denver area over the next 20 years.

Adams County is on a roll.

An unnamed company is expected to announce later this year that it will bring a record 3,500 to jobs to Adams County.

To put that in perspective, the most jobs ever announced in one year in Adams County took place just before the Great Recession hit.

And that was for 3,300 jobs from all companies, according to the Adams County Economic Development Corp.

Adams County

Shown is the giant Amazon fulfillment center under construction in Aurora.

Last year was the second best year for jobs in Adams County, with 3,203 announced, according to the ACED.

And that was 134.3 percent more than the 1,367 jobs announced in Adams County in 2015.

Of course, if Barry Gore, CEO of ACED, and Tricia Allen, a senior vice president at ACED, revealed the name of the mystery company, they would have to kill me.

They also can’t tell me where the company is going to locate in the 1,182-square-mile community created in 1902.

Salaries are in line within the industry that the company represents, Allen told me.

Adams County

Tricia Allen

The company’s announcement will not just be a short-term blip, but rather reflective of a 20-year trend.

Adams County is expected to be the fastest-growing county in Colorado over the next 20 years, both in terms of population growth and jobs, Ron von Lembke, chairman of the ACED noted last week.

“Primary job growth, throughout the the county, but particularly north of I-70 in the north metro region and north of Colfax in Aurora, remains our highest priority, so Adams County residents can continue to enjoy increased access to quality jobs and better transportation alternatives,” von Lembke wrote in his “Chairman’s Letter.”

Some of the highlights from ACED’s 2016 annual report include:

  • $300 million in capital improvements was invested in Adams County last year, up 14.5 percent from $262 million in 2015;
  • There were 566 new jobs added last year in the Adams County Enterprise Zones, a 52.7 percent jump from 371 in 2015; and
  • There were 121 prospects for jobs reported in 2016, a 31.5 percent increase from 92 in 2015.

Of the job prospects, 70 percent of them were generated by site selectors and brokers.

That has been historically consistent, Allen said.

“If you look back at our annual reports for the past 10 years, the vast majority of our prospects have come from site selection professionals and from brokers familiar with our county,” Allen said.

In August, ACED will host its first national site selection event, where representatives from five national site selection firms will spend three days in Adams County, she noted.

Much of the growth, and the future growth, of Adams County is on the industrial side.

For example, Amazon will be opening its 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Aurora later this summer. That facility will employ 1,000.

There also has been a surge of homebuilding in Adams County.

“All of the new rooftops has led to more retail,” he said.

Adams County

Barry Gore

“If you have been to the Midtown community (north of trendy Northwest Denver neighborhoods like Berkeley and Sunnyside), that is just the beginning of the type of development that is going to change that entire area,” he added.

“The one thing we would like to see is more Class A office space,” Gore said. He thinks there is a great potential for new, Class A office space along the north Interstate 25 corridor, he said.

Adams County picks up all or part of municipalities that include Arvada, Aurora, Bennett, Brighton, Commerce City, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster.

The 11.2 mile Gold, or G line, on FasTracks, which will connect Arvada to Union Station, will provide transit-oriented developments at various RTD stops along the route, he said.

“Some people already are buying homes that are still affordable near the G-line, from speculators and owners who plans to pop their tops,” Gore said.

Adams County also will continue to benefit from development in and around the Denver International Airport, including the massive “Aerotropolis,” the so-called Airport City at DIA.

“Adams County is working very closely with Denver on Aerotropolis,” Gore noted.

Adams County

The massive Aerotropolis planned on DIA land is good news for Adams County.

One thing that bodes well for Adams County is that it has water, Gore said.

“We have plenty of water,” Gore said. “In fact, we just had a meeting on that.”

The challenge, he said, is building and paying for the infrastructure needed to get and process the water.

“How to finance the infrastructure, whether it is roads, bridges or water is always a challenge,” Gore said.

He said if President Trump’s still undefined plans to fund major infrastructure projects nationwide could be good news for Adams County.

“Anything we can get to help fund infrastructure, whether if at the federal level or from the state, is fabulous,” Gore said.

Gore said many people still think of Adams County as being a mix of agricultural and blue-collar jobs, while in truth the Adams County economy and demographic makeup is extremely diverse.

Ron von Lembke

Ron von Lembke

However, the two top employers in Adams County are the University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado, providing 6,550 and 5,250 jobs, respectively.

“Health care is our No. 1 industry for jobs, followed by construction,” he said.

He noted that Allen frequently makes presentations to groups, explaining the Adams County story.

“Anyone who has attended one of her presentations, understands just how diverse, vibrant and fast-growing Adams County is,” he said.




John Rebchook has been taking the pulse of the Denver-area and Colorado commercial real estate world for almost 35 years. He joined the editorial staff of CREJ in 2011. Prior to that, he was the Real Estate Editor of the Rocky Mountain News from 1983 until it closed in 2009.