The real estate trend that is defining Denver's tech scene

by Patrick Hechinger
January 4, 2017

There's no denying it, Denver's tech scene is growing up.

The city's most notable tech companies are no longer grinding away in cramped, low-rent startup spaces — they're moving on up (not necessarily to the East Side).

In particular, CBRE Colorado has noticed a growing trend of tech companies moving from the brick and timber spaces of Union Station and LoDo to traditional office spaces throughout the city. Companies like SendGrid (100k+ sf. at 1801 California Street), Ibotta (40k sf. at 1801 California Street), Ping Identity (50k sf. at 1001 17th Street), Sovrn (9k sf. at 1001 17th Street), and Craftsy (80k sf. at 999 18th Street) have all moved to traditional high-rise spaces within the past year. 

CBRE's Alex Hammerstein pointed out three main reasons why these companies are making the switch:

  1. Traditional office high-rise spaces allow companies to expand to other floors in the building, minimizing the headache of outgrowing an office space. 
  2. Traditional buildings also have better amenities such as fitness rooms, restaurants, coffee shops, parking, etc.
  3. These spaces are traditionally less expensive than LoDo, Platte Valley and RiNo. 

Of course, traditional office spaces can notoriously lack the "startup vibe" that many companies wish to retain. So it comes as no surprise that these companies are investing in renovations to bolster their technological infrastructure and creating more open-air environments. 

The real-estate trend has also sparked a chain reaction in the startup real estate market — smaller startups are leasing the spaces left behind by the larger tech companies. For example, Parkifi leased SendGrid's old space on Larimer. Subsequently, Rachio moved from their old space to Parkifi's previous office in LoDo. It's the tech circle of life. 

This chain reaction is not unique to Denver. The nation's most mature tech markets (i.e. San Francisco, New York) have all gone through this growing cycle. However, now that Denver tech companies have officially reached the pinnacle of the cycle, it's safe to officially consider the city an established tech ecosystem. 

Cheers to that. 

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