Denver: A Tech Startup’s Best Friend

Clint Copulos

Denver is making a serious commitment to welcoming startups, entrepreneurs and tech companies to the Mile-High City. This is a good thing, because they’re arriving in droves.

Denver has already emerged as an official tech hub; in fact, three Colorado cities — Denver, Fort Collins, and Boulder — now have the largest number of registered digital patents outside of California.

California better be on guard: Denver was ranked as the fifth most suitable city for joining a tech startup and living comfortably, according to researchers at ABODO, an apartment search site. About half of the 100 California residents surveyed, who were already working in tech jobs, were ready to quit and relocate to emerging tech hubs like Denver.

The resulting statistics seem to be in agreement: Denver is the third-best city to start a tech career, and the second-best city for software engineers. It’s ranked as the fourth-best place for businesses and careers in the U.S. and the second-best city for launching a startup.

Tech companies in Denver occupy 7.9 million square feet of office space (an all-time high), and that number is growing. Denver is tied with Detroit (at #8) on SmartAsset’s 2017 list of best cities for women in tech, ranking higher than even San Francisco and San Jose. In 2015, immigrants made up almost 13.8% of all business owners in the Denver metro area, according to the American Immigration Council.

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Another contributing factor to Denver’s success: its location. It’s within a two-hour flight of two-thirds of the U.S. and within four hours of every major city with a population of 1 million or more on the continent, making it a major national transportation and commercial hub.

What also doesn’t hurt: it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the country, offering an authentic — and aesthetic — urban experience. It’s also easy to get around: within a mile radius of downtown is access to all the cultural and sports facilities.

“Denver has earned a reputation as a center of innovation,” executive director Paul Washington, of the Denver Office of Economic Development, told Mashable. “The administration is viewed as a true partner — not only of entrepreneurship but of the technology scene, in everything from consistent tax policies to removing regulatory barriers where they’re unnecessary.”

Improvements include enlarging the transit system and making “intentional investments in infrastructure.”

Denver apartment rents continue to rise; 20,000 apartments are under construction, representing a ten percent increase in the region’s inventory.

“Rent is a third of Silicon Valley prices, and there is a ton of available talent, not to mention the great quality of life,” Baker CEO John Milton told The Denver Channel. “Furthermore, while there is lots of ‘job hopping’ amongst talent in the Bay, there seems to be more stability in Denver. If you build a great place to work, people are more likely to hang around!”

Downtown Denver’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is thriving, according to a recent report by the Downtown Denver Partnership.

Among the report’s findings:

  • 4,508 people work for 664 tech startups in the center city
  • Nearly 8 percent of center city businesses are tech startups
  • 56 startups raised more than $420 million in venture capital in the last
  • year
  • 165 tech startups were founded in the center city just last year

“The increasing number of tech startups, a growing population of highly qualified employees and significant and continued investment in center city innovation creates an entrepreneurial ecosystem that plays a significant role in an economically vital Downtown,” said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “56 center city startups raised more than $420 million in venture capital funding, up from 2015.”

Our KBS assets in the Denver area:

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Granite Tower   1099 18th Street
This landmark, award-winning Class-A office tower is located in the northwest quadrant of the Denver central business district submarket. The 31-story, 562,709-square-foot property is certified LEED Gold. It’s part of the gateway to Denver’s Lower Downtown Historic District (LoDo), with close proximity to Coors Field and the newly developed Union Station. The building includes a three-level, 676-space parking lot structure.

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Peakview Tower   6465 South Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Centennial, CO
This 10-story Class A office building is located on a 6.5-acre site in the Greenwood Village submarket of southeast suburban Denver. The property enjoys excellent access to both mid-level housing (south and southeast) as well as executive housing to the west in Cherry Hills. South Yosemite Boulevard provides convenient and direct access to the heart of the Denver Technological Center, providing the property with immediate access to several restaurants, hotels and shopping centers. It’s also within 15 minutes of Denver’s CBD and 30 minutes from Denver International Airport.  Parking for the building is provided at a ratio of 4.0 spaces per 1,000 rentable square feet through the combination of a 790-stall, three-story adjacent structure plus 256 surface spaces.

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Village Center Station I    6380 S. Fiddler’s Green Circle, Greenwood Village, CO
This nine-story Class A office building is located in the largest office market in Metro Denver and is LEED Gold certified. The 234,915-square-foot building was built in 2009 and includes a 786-space parking structure. The property is located directly adjacent to the Denver area’s most dynamic light rail station, Arapahoe at Village Center Station, which is the centerpiece of a vibrant town center development. Since August 2014, Arapahoe at Village Center Station has experienced 62 percent higher ridership than the next-busiest stop along Denver’s southeast corridor.  Village Center Station benefits from a live-work-play environment with a blend of office, retail and residential properties within its immediate area.

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Village Center Station II (VCS II)  6360 S. Fiddler’s Green Circle, Greenwood Village, CO
One of our newest properties, VCS II is a 12-story, Class A office development, already 100 percent pre-leased by Charter Communications. We partnered with Shea Properties, Denver’s largest vertical real estate developer, to develop it from the ground up. This marks the completion of the Village Center Station Complex — a premier transit-oriented development in the suburban Denver market. The property consists of a glass façade and sophisticated architectural lines, and boasts an unobstructed panoramic mountain view from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak.  It also includes an additional 2-story, 17,753 square-foot wrapper building.

The plaza showcases a 25-foot high, 60 foot-wide “Dancing Fountain” offering an elegant multi-colored light display orchestrated to music. VCS II benefits from this live-work-play environment with a blend of office, retail and residential properties within its immediate area. The office building is located directly adjacent to one of Denver’s highly rated light rail station, Arapahoe at Village Center Station, allowing convenient access Denver’s light rail system. There is an abundance of area amenities in and near Village Center Station including the Village Center Station Plaza which provides an elegant outdoor area that unites the Village Center Station buildings and provides a venue for outdoor concerts, art fairs, and other community activities.


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Clint Copulos is a senior vice president and asset manager for KBS, overseeing 2.2 million square feet of office space in the western region of the United States.