Mayor Johnston Announces Investment in Downtown Denver

Credit: Denver Union Station

The Downtown Denver Partnership and Mayor Mike Johnston announced today, May 9, a transformative new investment to restore vibrancy and expand economic opportunity throughout downtown Denver.

“This is a major step toward restoring downtown and building a more vibrant Denver,” said Mayor Mike Johnston. “This transformative investment will spur growth and redevelopment throughout the urban core while expanding economic opportunity across the city. Working alongside residents and businesses, we will restore downtown and prove that even our toughest challenges can be solved when we work together.” 

The new funding stream will help unlock more housing options, open more public spaces that are welcoming and accessible to all, and attract world-class businesses where people want to shop and work. The new investment will be funded by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), which funded the nationally recognized redevelopment of Denver Union Station. 

“This announcement marks a historic moment for downtown Denver,” said Kourtny Garrett, president & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, “The Downtown Development Authority has generated significant returns on the investments in Union Station and the surrounding neighborhood and the opportunity to leverage such a powerful funding mechanism, particularly during this pivotal time for downtown, is monumental. We share Mayor Johnston’s vision for a dynamic, accessible, vibrant center city for all, and this investment is one that will be felt by generations to come.”   

The DDA is a state statute that allows municipalities to fund downtown economic development projects by collecting a portion of the incremental taxes generated within the central business district. Denver’s existing DDA was established in 2008 and allows the city to generate revenue from a portion of the property and sales taxes collected in the area of Union Station and Market Street Station. This arrangement has previously helped deliver more than $400 million to support transportation projects at Union Station to better serve residents and attract new visitors and businesses. However, the existing DDA is currently limited to this project. 

Through the fall of 2024, Mayor Johnston and the City will work to update and expand the existing DDA. This will include working with local communities and businesses to craft a shared vision for a more vibrant downtown. These consultations will help inform a formal Plan of Development, which Johnston will submit for City Council approval. Through this work, the DDA will be able to deliver transformative public investments throughout the downtown core, which it cannot do today. In total, expanding the use of Denver’s DDA is expected to make more than $500 million available for investment within the proposed expansion area downtown. The earliest funding would be available is 2025. 

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