River North roundup: 2M sf of new office space

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Matt Weist
Broker associate, Column Commercial Partners

As one of the most popular (and fastest-growing) neighborhoods in Denver, the River North Art District is gaining substantial local, regional and national attention. With its internationally renowned art culture and dynamic craft food and beverage scene, RiNo is a destination for companies looking to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive business landscape.

Enhanced connections through public infrastructure projects like the Brighton Boulevard improvements and multimodal transit accessibility including the 38th and Blake commuter rail station, RiNo is an entry point into downtown Denver that gives both business and leisure travelers their first taste of Denver culture.

In addition to a rapidly growing number of retail spaces, restaurants and bars, RiNo also is stepping up its office game, offering a combination of adaptive reuse and new construction projects that can meet the needs of many companies. The area offers a creative and entrepreneurial environment with competitive lease rates that are generally less than Lower Downtown.

With approximately 2 million square feet of office space under construction (and nearly 750,000 sf proposed), there are numerous new office developments. Following are some of the most anticipated.

The Hub. With direct access to the 38th and Blake commuter rail station, The Hub is a Class A 275,000-sf mixed-use, transit-oriented development. With 250,000 sf of creative office, the project already has attracted large tenants, including HomeAdvisor, which will lease 70,000 sf for its new headquarters.

Denver Rock Drill. This adaptive reuse development located two blocks from the 38th and Blake commuter rail station pays homage to the industrial heritage of the site, while creating a new destination for work and play. In addition to a hotel, retail and residential uses, Denver Rock Drill also includes 318,000 sf of office space with flexible, open and collaborative floor plates. Phase 1 is under construction.

World Trade Center Denver Campus. Located across the street from the 38th and Blake Street commuter rail station, the World Trade Center Denver Campus is under construction with expected delivery in 2020. Centered around global activity, this campus is attracting both local and multinational companies looking for uniquely global collaborative workspace.

Revolution 360. Celebrating the spirit and culture of Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, the five-story Revolution 360 offers 150,000 sf of Class A office and 20,000 sf of ground-level retail. Located at 36th and Brighton Boulevard, the development is scheduled to break ground this summer.

Catalyst is one of the many anticipated new office projects in RiNo. Courtesy Dr. John Oro

Catalyst. With Phase 1 scheduled for completion in the second quarter, Catalyst is a first-of-its-kind facility located at 35th Street and Brighton Boulevard. The development brings together private enterprise, government, academic and nonprofit organizations with health care providers and payers to accelerate innovation and drive real, lasting change. Phase 2 construction is scheduled to start in 2019.

3060 Brighton Blvd. This adaptive reuse development is located at 30th Street and Brighton Boulevard, featuring up to 70,000 sf of continuous space for lease. Proposed delivery is spring 2019.

With many dynamic options for office space in RiNo, how can a firm know if it’s the right location for its company? While there is a concentrated influx of emerging tech (those that have grown beyond the startup phase), health tech and even financial services companies looking to develop vibrant workforces in the area, RiNo is suitable for a variety of businesses.

Here are six questions to begin to assess if RiNo is the right fit:

  1. Is the company looking for nontraditional office space?
  2. What type of employees is the company looking for, and how does the office space and location factor into attracting and retaining them?
  3. How important is parking to the employee base? Are they comfortable using public transit?
  4. How does the building’s location impact the image of the company? Can that translate into business growth?
  5. Does moving to a distinctly creative neighborhood support the overall objectives of the company?
  6. What financial constraints could have an impact on the decision (and how much does price matter to the firm)?

These questions can open up an important dialogue about the company’s growth goals. As one of the top three expenses for any company, securing the right real estate is a significant part of supporting the overall business strategy, especially when it comes to recruitment and retention. And as Denver’s commercial real estate market continues to evolve and the demand for talent increases, that will become more important than ever.

Featured in CREJ’s June Office Properties Quarterly.

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