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Denver Has Long-Term Strength, NAIOP Speakers Say

Participating in the panel: Chris Cowan, ARA, A Newmark Company; Matt Gautreau, Cushman & Wakefield; Shane Ozment, ARA, A Newmark Company; Tim Richey, CBRE; Adam Sands, FirstBank; T.J. Smith, Colliers International; Jon Weisiger, CBRE; and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck's Bruce James, who moderated

There are a few clouds on the horizon for Denver, but the area's economy has a lot going for it, according to the speakers at NAIOP Colorado's recent Economic Midyear Forecast. For one thing, there is "patient capital" in Denver in the next five to 10 years at least. Investors know the market's long-term strengths, and are not likely to cut and run.

Employment remains the strongest aspect of the local economy, with job growth in a variety of industries. It does come with a downside: supply in the housing market is not keeping up, which is driving up prices and causing an affordability gap. The gap may not be as pronounced as on the coasts, but it is still a challenge.

As for up-and-coming industries, Denver is not quite in the same league as San Francisco or Silicon Valley when it comes to tech growth and investment, but the city is on the leading edge of tech industry growth, ahead of most other places in the country. That will drive a lot of demand for office and residential space in the coming years. 

Multifamily has long been the darling among investors in Denver, and Denver is still attracting investors for that asset class, but industrial is giving it a run for its money, the speakers said. The reason is e-commerce and Amazon. Denver is now on the radar for logistic companies.