Tech Industry Adds 4M sq. ft. in Colorado

CBRE just-released its Colorado Tech Book, which tracks the growth of the tech sector along the Front Range. The report shows the tech industry has added 4 million square feet in the last two years—an impressive 23 percent growth rate.

“Twenty-three percent is an impressive expansion of Colorado’s tech industry in just two years. Drawn by promises of excellent quality of life, lower housing costs and a growing talent pool, tech companies are increasingly choosing Colorado as a place to expand, further diversifying the area’s economy and reinforcing its real estate market,” said Molly Armbrister, senior research analyst with CBRE and co-author of the report.

Downtown Denver is the submarket with the largest amount of tech-occupied space. Among the larger geographic regions documented in the report, the Boulder-Broomfield corridor stands out as the most tech-concentrated.

Key report findings:

  • Metro Denver’s tech footprint rose from 11.6 million sq. ft. in 2018 to 15.1 million sq. ft. today (30% growth).
  • Tech companies also occupy 3.3 million sq. ft. of office and industrial space in Northern Colorado (up 3%), and an additional 3 million sq. ft. in Colorado Springs (up 15%).
  • Downtown Denver is the submarket with the largest amount of tech-occupied space (3.5 million sq. ft.).
  • The Boulder-Broomfield corridor stands out as the most tech-concentrated (43% of occupied office space is attributable to tech firms, compared to 13.1% for metro Denver).
  • Software companies grew the fastest in Colorado in the last two years (their footprint is up 23%).
  • The number of employees in tech jobs across the Front Range jumped 57% over the last decade, reaching 139,000 in 2019.

Although the full impact of Covid-19 isn’t yet known, economic fallout from the pandemic has reverberated through Front Range real estate markets. Office leasing activity has slowed, and the amount of office space available for sublease has risen. As of mid-July, tech firms in downtown Denver had put 288,000 square feet of office space on the market for sublease.

“While no sector is immune to the impact of Covid-19, tech has proven to be one of the most resilient. Tech firms have played a huge role in facilitating business productivity and supporting critical infrastructure to make it possible for employees around the globe to transition to remote work,” said D Bergin, managing director of Office Occupier & Industrial for CBRE in Colorado. “As more firms embrace flexibility in where their employees locate, Colorado stands to be a beneficiary of tech talent seeking a higher quality of life.”

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