I have been continually impressed by the city of Denver and its ability to continue growing despite its past history. While Denver has been recognized as a regional leader for a very long time, it has only been until recently that much of the rest of the country has started to recognize the city as somewhere that is growing in influence on the global stage. This morning, I had the opportunity to listen to a developer talk about all of the investments that are taking place in Denver and what this means for our community. The essence of this conversation is that people will continue to move to Denver and as a result much of the development that has been happening will continue to happen into the future. This means a variety of things for the different industries in Denver.
First and foremost, many of the industrial sections of town are picking up and moving either to the outskirts of town or to a nearby suburb. The reason for this is rent. Many of the steel building, originally supplied by General Steel, have moved to places in the city that are more affordable for the tenants. This is the case even though many of those same steel buildings were in the downtown areas as late as the 1990s. What happened was that then Mayor Pena asked for the railroad companies to consolidate their holdings downtown and move their maintenance facilities to other parts of the city. This freed up a lot of the real estate downtown, but at the same time made the prices increase considerably, pricing out many of the industrial customers that have been there for a while. The impact of this is that now you have some General Steel metal buildings hanging about in a downtown area that you would not usually expect to see them. The good thing here is that a number of the buildings are now being occupied by innovative forces like breweries. I would have never guessed that breweries would be overtaking a number of the General Steel buildings, but it appears the cheap rent and the ability of the breweries to adapt to the spaces for both production and retail has worked out well.
There is actually a brewery right next to my office building that moved into a General Steel building recently. They are a German beer hall and have a number of stills in the back and long benches for people to sit and enjoy their suds. It is a very cool way for them to adapt to a space, save money that can be invested into the products that they are putting forward, and attract new customers interested in checking out a space that was previously unused. Using this form of reclaiming urban spaces, I am interested to see how this develops even further. I know that much of the development taking place in Denver happens to be urban infill, so I will be curious to find out just how spaces like the old General Steel buildings will be used.