The nonprofit organization’s role in Broomfield had changed significantly over the past three years, as the city government – once the BEDC’s primary financial supporter – created its own economic development department and cut funding to the organization.
In February, with the blessing of the governor’s office, the new organization’s board of directors mapped out a plan to serve the region as a one-stop shop for site selectors and developers from throughout the world, working in concert with, not against, the dozen or so economic development groups already serving the area.
Getting everyone on board, in some instances, could require kid gloves.
“Our vision is to make Northwest Denver one of the most recognizable and attractive regions to do business in the world,” said Mike Kosdrosky, the Northwest Denver EDP’s president and chief executive.” He said the organization provides an ideal opportunity for business leaders and other key stakeholders to drive, not just participate in, the region’s economic growth.
The new organization is focused on representing its corporate investors made up of developers, Realtors, bankers and other private companies that can prosper through development. Backers include Wells Fargo, Jones Lang LaSalle, Xcel Energy, HunterDouglas, McWhinney and CB Richard Ellis. Right now, at least 20 companies are signed on.
Dave Marusiak of Wells Fargo, chairman of the group, said the organization has been built on the principle of “One Region, One Voice. This is a principle shared by the most economically competitive and successful regions in the world,” he said.
Kosdrosky said site selectors would rather deal with one or two organizations than a dozen smaller ones when exploring a region.
The region is loosely defined as from north of Interstate 70 to Larimer County, and west from I-25 to the foothills. That area includes Boulder, Broomfield, and portions of Adams and Jefferson counties, and already is served by a lot of smaller economic development groups. The most active are the Longmont Area Economic Council and the Boulder Economic Council.
How they will work together is the big question. Some leaders of the larger groups are noncommittal so far but are curious to hear more. Clif Harald, executive director of the Boulder Economic Council, is waiting to see how this shakes out.
“I’d like to see if there is going to be a duplication of services with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.,” said Harald, who added that that organization already feeds leads for prospects to the smaller economic development groups.
Wendi Nafziger, interim president of the Longmont Area Economic Council, also is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“We’ll see what the plan is,” she said, “but we value and protect the data we collect on inventories of properties.”
Doug Storum can be reached at 303-630-1959 or firstname.lastname@example.org.