Developers near and far see RiNo as fertile ground, NYT reports

A vacant lot at 38th and Blake. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)38th and blake; five points; RiNo; development; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
A vacant lot at 38th and Blake. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) 38th and blake; five points; RiNo; development; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;
A vacant lot at 38th and Blake. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Within the past year alone, it seems that more and more boutique and high-end spaces have opened in the River North area — Blue Moon Brewing, Denver Central Market and others spring to mind.

But developers see room for more, the New York Times reports. Including 250,000 more square feet of offices and a 200-room hotel. 

And yes, this development drive is because, nationally, Denver is relatively affordable. At least according to developer Sean Campbell:

“Whether you’re in New York or the San Francisco Bay Area, Denver is going to be 60 cents on the dollar for the foreseeable future compared to those markets,” Mr. Campbell said. “We’re seeing large companies saying, ‘Places like Silicon Valley are nice, but we can use Denver and its Rocky Mountain backdrop as a lifestyle tool for recruitment and retention.”

But as many Denverites well know, affordability is relative. And the artistic aesthetic that new tenants have capitalized on has brought development to the doorstep of accessible all-ages spaces like Rhinoceropolis. That makes the following figure from the NYT especially poignant:

“At the same time, speculative investors have driven up land costs to an average of roughly $150 an acre, which is as much as five times what they were four years ago, said Tim Harrington, an executive managing director with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in Denver.”

And the prospects for RiNo’s development go beyond just a nice place for you to grab a quality meal. That big hotel and 250,000 square feet of offices are part of the World Trade Center Denver project, which is planned to sit along an A Line light rail stop. The end goal is to promote Denver internationally.

“The transformative nature of the airport has turned us into a much different economic region,” Tom Clark, chief executive of Metro Denver Economic Development, told the NYT.