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Xcel Global Energy Forum. A Brief History of Metro Denver’s 25 year pursuit of a diverse economy. “Every city gets to make “century” decisions. In all of these there is only one common element – the business community brings ‘continuity’.” Bruce Rockwell. Metro Denver EDC Region.

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Xcel global energy forum

Xcel Global Energy Forum

A Brief History of Metro Denver’s 25 year

pursuit of a diverse economy.

Xcel global energy forum

“Every city gets to make “century” decisions. In all of these there is only one common element – the business community brings ‘continuity’.”

Bruce Rockwell

Xcel global energy forum

Metro Denver EDC Region

  • 3.4 million residents

  • 67% of state population

  • Over 75% of State GDP

The century decisions prior to 1980

The Century Decisions Prior to 1980

  • Denver Pacific Railroad to Cheyenne, Wyoming

  • The water decisions of the 19th & 20th centuries

  • The Moffat Tunnel

  • The City Beautiful Movement

  • Stapleton

  • The Valley Highway

  • Lowry and Fitzsimons purchases

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City and County Building

1934 -2006

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1930’s – A New “Port”

Stapleton Airport opens as Mayor Ben Stapleton sees the opportunity of commercial air service

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“The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.”

Frederic Amiel

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153 Days of Unhealthy Air1973

The oil shale bust of 1982

The Oil Shale “Bust” of 1982

  • “Denver: You Can’t Fall Off the Floor” – Forbes, 1986

  • A recession is a terrible thing to waste.

  • Economic development groups proliferate

  • Office vacancies reach 31% in Downtown

  • “Finger pointing time” – “Find the bad guy.”

The october cup of coffee

The “October Cup of Coffee”

  • “Crazy 8 comes up with a REAL crazy idea: “Sell the region first, our communities second.”

Economic armistice signed denver post january 1987

“Economic Armistice Signed”Denver Post – January, 1987

  • Governor, warring Mayors sign historic agreement.

  • The importance of “ritual” in regional collaboration.

  • “Customs” vs. “rules”

  • Developing a culture of collaboration.

  • “Honest broker on neutral ground.”

A strategy to become a world community emerges

A strategy to become a “world community” emerges

  • Place making economic development

  • Regional organizations proliferate in a “burst” of new thinking.

    • Scientific Cultural Facilities Districts

    • DIA

    • Metro Mayors Caucus

    • Metro County Commissioners Caucus

    • Stadium Districts

    • Regional Air Quality Commission

    • RTD and eventually FasTracks

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Innovation Clusters in

Metro Denver

The metro denver network and the metro denver edc

The Metro Denver Network and The Metro Denver EDC

  • Principles of Agreement – making assignments

  • Code of Ethics – developing a code of conduct

  • Six Strategic Objectives

    • Mobility – mass transit

    • Tax Reform – TABOR, Gallagher and “single factor apportionment”

    • DIA

    • Existing Business

    • National Marketing and Public Relations

    • Special Projects

The century decisions since 1990

The Century Decisions since 1990

  • Mountain Backdrop

  • DIA

  • Fitzsimons and Lowry

  • The 470s

  • Lower Downtown

  • T-REX and FasTracks

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Did all this matter

Did all this matter?

  • 3rd fastest job growth for metro areas: July, 2011 – July, 2012

  • 4th fastest growing state

  • 1st choice for 25-34 years olds to “migrate”

  • 4th lowest metro area in “loss of housing value” during Great Recession

  • New home for US Patent and Trade Office satellite office

  • Region averages 6-10 corporate headquarters’ relocations each year since 2003.

  • Average annual HQ locations from 1983-95: <1.

  • Colorado now 3rd most diverse economy in U.S.

Xcel global energy forum

Phoenix, Arizona

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Las Vegas, Nevada

Xcel global energy forum

Denver, Colorado

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“Mistakes, I’ve made a few….”

Frank Sinatra

Put two forks in it it s done

Put “Two Forks in it, it’s done.”

  • George Bush, Sr. goes from “Texas Hold ‘Em” to “Colorado Fold ‘Em.”

  • Bush caves to environmental interests and years of planning and effort for major water storage project dries up

  • Democrat Governor Roy Romerunable to persuade Republican President Bush to reverse decision. 600 years drought in 2003-2006 shows folly of decision

Air quality

Air Quality

  • What Brown Cloud?

  • Region ignored “unhealthy” air problems for almost 100 years.

  • By 1985 Denver was “2nd most polluted city in the U.S. behind L A

  • Concerted effort by Chamber and environmentalists changed citizens’ perception of air quality from an “environmental problem” to an “economic problem.”

  • By 1992, Robert Redford proclaimed on national TV, “The only place in the country that gives a damn about air quality is Metro Denver.”

  • Region enjoyed 15 years of no violations for any pollutants.

Bad decisions gone good

“Bad” Decisions Gone “Good”

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Lowry Air Force Base

Technical Training Center for Army Air Corps and temporary campus for Air Force Academy

Please uncle sam don t cut all those 900 a month jobs at lowry

“Please Uncle Sam, don’t cut all those $900 a month jobs at Lowry!”

  • Aurora and Denver combine to save an Air Force base from closing….a base that lacks one important element….

    A RUNWAY!!!!!

  • Lowry becomes Poster Child for re-development of abandoned military base – an urban community with multiple uses and a “classic” urban neighborhood. Closed in 1994 it is now the highest priced housing ZIP code in Denver.

Another bad decision becomes a century decision for the denver region

Another bad decision becomes a “century decision” for the Denver region

  • Fitzsimons now nation’s largest “life sciences” center under construction

  • $5.0 billion vs. $2.5 billion for most competing sites like Johns Hopkins

Manufacturing land

“Manufacturing” Land

  • Closure of Lowry and Stapleton coupled with Gateway at DIA turns Denver into major land developer in region – more land than Jeffco

  • From abandoned sewage plant to 13,000 acres of prime land in a decade

  • A “land locked” urban center no more

50 year decisions

50 Year Decisions

LoDo or Auraria – whither go the Boys of Summer?

The Can – Pepsi that is….

Mile High Thunder in the suburbs?

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Infrastructure Placements Drive Downtown Revitalization

Coors Field

Pepsi Center

Invesco Field

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Convention Center

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  • Coors Field

  • Opening Date: 1995

  • Capacity: 50,445

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  • Pepsi Center

  • Opening Date: 2000

  • Capacity: 19,100

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  • INVESCO Field @ Mile High

  • Opening Date: 2001

  • Capacity: 76,125

The 21 st century decisions

The 21st Century Decisions

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Doubling the Airport for 100 million passengers

The Super Slab – all transmission

High Speed Rail on the Front Range, with a stop at DIA for kicks

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“I like a person who is proud of his community. And I like a community that is proud of the person who lives within it.”

Abraham Lincoln

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