Q&A with Matt Harbert, Raise Commercial Real Estate
Expected to grow from $755B to $1047B over the next four years, the space economy is rapidly expanding and showing zero signs of slowing down. With the second largest space economy in the country next to Cape Canaveral, Colorado has experienced a tremendous influx of commercial aerospace companies and startups flocking to the region looking to plant their corporate and operational flags. Due to Colorado’s premier talent, saturation of academic and research institutions, innovative and collaborative culture, and the ample space and topography the state provides, companies and founders want to be part of its growing ecosystem.
Matt Harbert is a vice president at Raise Commercial Real Estate, a modern real estate technology and brokerage firm and was a founding member of Raise’s Denver operation. Matt has witnessed this Colorado aerospace expansion firsthand, with 23 percent of his current work on behalf of the larger Raise team focused within the commercial aerospace sector. Matt advises the leading names in the aerospace industry on their real estate strategy within the ecosystem of Colorado.
1. There is so much aerospace growth happening in Colorado currently, can you tell us a little bit more about why we are seeing this trend?
Industrywide, the space economy is rapidly expanding and is expected to grow from $755B to $1047B in the next four years, which will also increase job opportunities. This is just the beginning. Even though the industry will cycle through growth and downturns like every other industry, the possibilities of where aerospace is headed are endless. Colorado has always had a strong core of space companies including Lockheed Martin, ULA, Sierra Nevada (who enacted Sierra Space), York Space, and Boom Supersonic. There are nearly 300 aerospace companies in Colorado and over 500 companies that provide services and products to aerospace. Now there is a steady influx of startup companies that view Colorado as the ideal place to further their growth due to its collaborative nature and founders increasingly want to be part of that compounding ecosystem.
2. How is Raise Commercial Real Estate involved within the aerospace industry and why is the team so focused on this industry in particular?
Our team is highly dedicated to helping the most accomplished and innovative founders and executives evolve their businesses to the highest heights through the use and offering of our primary field of expertise, real estate. Within aerospace in particular, there are a plethora of entrepreneurs and companies doing unique and incredible work within that community and our main goal is to ensure they have a well-thought-out real estate strategy in place, inclusive of negotiating and securing the leasing of mission-critical facilities. Our clients are doing amazing work and it’s fun to play a small role in their overall mission.
3. What’s happening in the aerospace industry in Colorado specifically and are there any trends of note the team has been noticing in particular?
The main trend our team is a part of is the monumental influx of startups and small to medium-sized aerospace companies into the state of Colorado. The aerospace market here is outcompeting nearly every other market across the United States and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. We predict even larger progress coming for the industry within Colorado over the coming years.
4. What do you envision the future of aerospace looking like in Colorado?
Colorado is without a doubt going to play an incredibly central and integral role in the future of space. Major spacecraft, satellites, and gas stations in space that were all designed and manufactured in Colorado are just some of the coming ground-breaking developments. Colorado is going to put a major stamp on the industry moving forward and we’re bound to see some of the most influential present and future names in space across the world choose Colorado as their HQ, or even better, be founded here.
5. In addition to aerospace, what other commercial real estate trends can you foresee in Colorado throughout the course of 2023?
More and more companies across industry sectors will gradually return to the office on a more regular basis throughout the year. A very high percentage of our clients, as well as the executives we are in constant communication with, are operating under the mindset and belief that their company is “Better Together.” The office must be a destination and provide an ideal environment for in-person collaboration. Hybrid is here to stay and companies will still offer flexibility, but to attract, develop, and retain the very best talent requires a thoughtful, intentional, and innovative workspace that allows for organic interactions. The connectivity is crucial for growth, support, and mentorship, especially in times of economic uncertainty, which we’re currently experiencing. As with any downturn, there will be a few more tribulations before we are in recovery, but there are bright spots to keep an eye on until that time.