News and Upcoming Events

Sterling Ranch is Open!

Exciting times! Sterling Ranch will soon be home to a multitude of new residences with differing home types, spaciously sweeping across thousands of acres of natural, preserved environment. Its nine unique villages will radiate outward from an amenity-rich town center and grand civic gathering place. Pedestrian friendly planning and design focused on connectivity will offer 30 miles of trails, prolific open space, and access to two state parks and three regional parks.

Model homes are opening every week! Stay updated on the latest events at www.sterlingranchcolorado.com

#FixItCo

Yesterday was a huge day for those of us advocating for a transportation fix! Senate President Kevin Grantham and Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran introduced HB1242, a long-term funding solution to answer Colorado’s transportation needs. 

Attached is an Action Alert that includes information about HB1242.  Please forward to your networks.  FixItCO Action Alert 3.9.17

Collaboration = Success

Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) hosted its Regional Economic Development Forum, the first in a series of forums held around the state in 2017, at the Lone Tree Arts Center, Lone Tree, CO.

Inspired by Region 3, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, this one-day forum focused on issues that affect many communities around the state. The economic power of partnerships between economic developers, workforce developers, chambers of commerce, business leaders and educators was stressed throughout an interesting and engaging day-long forum which provided attendees tools and resources to take back and implement in their own communities.

It began with an overview of the region’s economy, followed by panel discussions held around Transit Oriented Development (TOD) centers and the economic impact of place making through arts, culture, and recreational tourism. Two higher education leaders talked about how education is a vital component of a balanced economic development approach, centered on preparing tomorrow’s workforce. The Forum was attended by over 140 economic development professionals, policy leaders, and area businesses.

Patrick Holwell, workforce economist with Arapahoe/Douglas Works, led the day’s forum with a regional economic report which discussed the power of cooperation and focused economic development in the context of a tightening labor market, rapid economic growth, the need for expansion of transportation systems and affordable housing. He also stressed the need to cooperatively work with post-secondary educators to address critical skill gaps experienced by local businesses. “To remain competitive in a tight labor market, business leaders must work with others in the community to maintain a high quality of life and a business friendly environment that keeps existing business, attracts new business, and grows jobs,” Holwell said, “A continued focus on regional partnerships, working together to anticipate and address regional needs, will keep this region competitive and successful.”

Lauren Masias, Public Information officer and director of Community Engagement for Denver South EDP, led a high-powered business panel that included Peter Coakley, senior vice president with Opus Development, Jenny Engle, senior director with Fidelity Investments, and Jeff Holwell, Economic Development director for the City of Lone Tree. The panel discussed how transportation and transit oriented development play a key role in attracting new business and highly skilled millennial workers to the region. “Direct walkable access to light rail is a game changer in development today. It is a significant economic generator,” Coakley said. Fidelity’s choice to open an office in Greenwood Village was based on talent. “We have hired a lot of millennials and transportation was a huge consideration when locating here,” Engle said. “With rising home prices, those employees looking to buy a home will have to look further out of the region. This will increase their commute times which could negatively impact Fidelity’s ability to hire and ultimately grow.”

The place making presentation focused on how vitally important the arts and culture are to any vibrant economy. According to Colorado Business Committee for the Arts (CBCA) Economic Activity Study, arts and culture brought in $1.8 billion in 2015 and had a $512.8 million economic impact. The outdoor industry brought $4.2 billion statewide. Led by Ed Sealover, reporter with Denver Business Journal, presentations from Cynthia Madden Leitner, Museum of Outdoor Arts, Elaine Mariner, Town of Parker and PACE Center, and Ty Seufer, Castle Rock Zip Line Tours, demonstrated this impact in their communities through arts, culture, and the recreational tourism.

Stephanie Copeland, executive director for Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) was the forum’s key note presentation. She discussed the office’s focus for the next two years with stress on helping rural areas as well as greater metro Denver and the Northern Front Range. OEDIT will help entrepreneurs connect with the assistance they need from Small Business Development Centers to help nurture and grow small business across Colorado.

Wrapping up the forum, we heard from Robert Olislagers, airport director for Centennial Airport, on the tremendous economic impact and regional advantage provided to Arapahoe and Douglas counties by Centennial Airport, which generates $1.39 billion in economic impact in the region.

Event supporters included:

Gold Sponsor, Denver South EDP | Venue Sponsor, City of Lone Tree | Platinum Sponsor, Douglas County | Regional Partner Sponsors, Arapahoe/Douglas Works and Arapahoe/Douglas Workforce Board, Castle Rock EDC, Aurora EDC, City of Centennial, Northwest Douglas County | Media Sponsor, Denver Business Journal

About the Economic Development Council (EDCC)

The Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC) is a state-wide, nonprofit organization dedicated to successful, responsible economic development. EDCC professionally represents the collective economic development interests of both the private and public sectors. Our mission is to be the premier state-wide organization for strengthening Colorado’s economy by promoting the highest standards of knowledge and skill for ED professionals, educating local and state leaders about the realities of economic growth, and advocating public policies that enhance economic opportunity for all of Colorado.

The US Highway 85 Planning and Environmental Linkages Study is complete.

For many years Douglas County and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) have been making improvements to the US 85 Corridor based on the 2002 South I-25/US 85 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Revised Record of Decision (ROD). As additional residential and commercial growth occurs in the northwest portion of the county, further studies were needed to identify what transportation improvements are necessary to support the development. Douglas County secured additional funds to continue this work and sponsored two important studies of US 85. The two separate studies are closely coordinated at each step in the process to allow citizen and stakeholder input. Ideally, these efforts assist the County and other agencies in identifying issues of importance in order to implement the highest-priority near-term improvements as soon as possible.

Read the PEL Study here.

Post-election, Colorado business confidence for 2017 rallies, finds CU Boulder index

The optimism of Colorado business leaders has sharply rebounded ahead of the first quarter of 2017, according to a University of Colorado Boulder report by the Leeds School of Business.

Released today, the Leeds Business Confidence Index is at 60.3 points overall, which means expectations are up 7.3 points from last quarter and up 4.9 points from the first quarter of 2016, or year-over-year.

Business leaders’ economic concerns regarding the election, political climate and government regulation have abated, said economist Richard Wobbekind, executive director of the Leeds School’s Business Research Division, which conducts the quarterly index via panelist responses to a survey.

“We thought one way or the other, the election would be enough to sort of stabilize business expectations and give them the operating environment they needed going forward,” Wobbekind said. “They not only got that, but they got the announcement of lower corporate tax rates and more attempts to deal with regulatory policy.”

The index measures business confidence – with 50 points or higher representing positive territory – in the state economy, industry sales, industry profits, capital expenditures, hiring plans and the national economy. The current readings represent 22 consecutive quarters of positive expectations.

Sector-by-sector highlights heading into the first quarter of 2017 are:

  • State economy confidence is up several points at 62.8 compared with 57.5 ahead of the fourth quarter of 2016;
  • National economy confidence increased markedly to 61.3 compared with 48.2 ahead of the fourth quarter, representing the smallest confidence gap between the national and state economies since the end of 2009;
  • Profits confidence is sharply up to 59.4 compared with 52.2 ahead of the third quarter;
  • Sales confidence has increased to 59.8 compared with 55.3 ahead of the fourth quarter;
  • Capital expenditures confidence drastically rose to 59.1 compared with 51.7 ahead of the fourth quarter;
  • Hiring confidence is up at 59.5 points compared with 53.2 ahead of the fourth quarter.

Colorado’s unemployment level, which remains lower than the national level, decreased to 3.2 percent in November (down from 3.8 percent in August). The state rate compares with a national unemployment rate in November of 4.6 percent.

Year-over-year employment growth in November was recorded for all seven of Colorado’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The Boulder and the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood MSAs show the fastest growth at 3.9 and 3.1 percent, respectively. The Grand Junction MSA is at the lowest end of growth at .3 percent.

Statewide the biggest employment industry gains as of November 2016 compared with November 2015 are in the construction (8.3 percent), education and health services (4.9 percent) and leisure and hospitality (3.1 percent) sectors. Mining and manufacturing both recorded job losses in November, year-over-year.

Visit the Leeds School’s Business Research Division publications page for the complete first quarter report and more information.

SparkDC! Program Launches

They say it can cost as much as 10 times more to land a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. That’s why you want to pay very close attention to the ones you already have.

The same can be said about economic development and the businesses who already call Douglas County home. That’s why we’ve created Spark DC.

Spark DC is Douglas County’s business retention program aiming to meet with businesses throughout the County to listen, gain valuable insight into the business community, and expand awareness of the issues business face.

We listen very carefully to the issues existing businesses face today.

That close attention not only helps keep our Douglas County economy strong, it helps it grow as well. Because often the best way to attract new business is to show how much we support the ones already here.

Spark DC. Together, we’ll spark more success stories.

Douglas County businesses: we want to meet with you!

Contact us today to arrange for a meeting.

Becky Nelson, Economic Development Coordinator
Bnelson@douglas.co.us
303-660-7426

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Cowboy After Hours

Join local business leaders and elected officials at our annual Cowboy After Hours on Friday, August 4th.  Enjoy great food and drinks on the glass patio of Schomp Mini and network with guests from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Then board a VIP bus to the Douglas County Fairgrounds to attend the Junior Livestock Auction and support the 4-H and FFA kids.  Last year, we helped raise $70,000 to support the Douglas County Fair Foundation at the Junior Livestock Auction.  Please contact Amy Sherman at asherman@nwdouglascounty.org for sponsorship opportunities and ticket information.

Morning at the Capitol

Join the Douglas County Business Alliance for a morning at the Colorado State Capitol on March 8th.  Coffee will be served at 7:30 in House Committee Room 109.  All of the Douglas County legislators will attend and give brief comments.  There will be additional speakers on transportation, workforce development, construction defects and attainable housing, among other legislative issues.  Attendees will go down to the House and Senate Floor, as well as have the opportunity to tour the Capitol. The event is free.

The DCBA is a coalition of chambers of commerce and economic development organizations in Douglas County.

If you would like to attend, please email Amy Sherman at asherman@nwdouglascounty.org

DCBA Legislative Session Kick-Off

Join the Douglas County business community at our annual Douglas County Business Alliance Legislative Kick-Off event on Monday, January 9th.  The event will be held at Sky Ridge Medical Center from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.  A continental breakfast will be served.  All members of the Douglas County delegation will attend and give an overview of what we might see during the 2017 General Session. 

More information on the Douglas County Business Alliance can be found at

DCBA

Open Data Initiative Luncheon

Douglas County has launched the first phase of its Open Data Initiative featuring mobile accessible tools.  Some of these features include new ‘cone zone’ notification tool, community resources, County budget details, real estate trends, Douglas County Outdoors, and more. 

Acknowledging that Open Data increases transparency, encourages civic engagement, informs public safety, and generates economic value that fuels private sector activity, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners recognized the launch of the County’s Open Data portal and simultaneously celebrated the County’s ranking as a top Digital County in the U.S.

Please join us on Tuesday, November 15th from 11:30 – 1:00 p.m. for a presentation on the Open Data Initiative by Douglas County Assessor Lisa Frizell, and Douglas County Treasurer Diane Holbert.  Meet your local elected officials, network with local business owners, and enjoy lunch during the presentation.

When: November 15th

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location: Hilton Garden Inn Highlands Ranch, 1050 Plaza Drive, Highlands Ranch

Lunch will be provided and is sponsored by Northwest Douglas County EDC.  Kindly RSVP to Amy Sherman at asherman@nwdouglascounty.org