A diverse “portfolio” of investment and incentive strategies performed well over the past year for the Denver Office of Economic Development (OED), with its business investments, lending initiatives, and incentive programs strengthening both the city’s tax base as well as jobs, according to the OED’s annual report released today.
The city’s various incentive, tax credit, loan, and training assistance programs helped 85 firms expand in Denver, collectively creating 1,590 new jobs and making more than $102 million in capital investments. OED’s efforts also supported the retention of 2,600 jobs.
“Denver’s bold investments and fiscal management is ensuring more economic security, opening up opportunity for more households across a wider income spectrum, promoting better neighborhoods, and thus improving our quality of life here,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “These are essential goals that defy literal measurement and profoundly impact Denver’s future competitive edge in the global marketplace.”
The annual report presents the tangible outcomes of the OED’s JumpStart 2013 strategic plan, including gains made in business retention, business recruitment, small business advocacy, lending projects, sustainable neighborhood development and workforce development.
“With two full years now completed, our JumpStart strategy is successfully blending fresh, innovative ideas with a parallel focus on core best practices in the field of economic development,” said OED Executive Director Paul Washington. “We’re pleased to see that our 2013 results demonstrate the benefits of both approaches.”
New in 2013 in the city’s economic development toolbox was the Business Investment Program, launched following voters’ approval of Measure 2A the previous fall. The program’s tax credit/incentive approach encourages firms to hire more people and invest in more equipment by eliminating the general fund portion of business personal property tax for four years for any Denver-based business that meets certain criteria of new business investment and job growth.
Now in its tenth year, Denver’s Business Incentive Fund supports business relocations and expansions resulting in job creation and additional tax revenues. The OED uses the fund to contract with firms to provide new jobs and investment to the city. Incentive payments are made on a reimbursement basis, following the creation of new jobs as verified through the city’s business tax collections.
2013 contracted projects include Convercent, Johns Manville Corp., On Deck Capital, Sympoz and Kinross Gold USA, Inc.
Other achievements highlighted in the annual report include:
- Commitments to create and/or rehabilitate 450 affordable housing units throughout the city
- Enhancing neighborhood vitality by supporting 27 separate neighborhood development projects with federal Community Development Block Grant funds
- Serving more than 32,000 individuals with job search assistance through the Denver Workforce Centers
- Expanded efforts to serve job-seekers in targeted categories of veterans, youth, the long-term unemployed, and those seeking a GED
- Lowered the city’s lending portfolio default-delinquency rate from 8.7 percent to 4.6 percent over just 12 months
- Advanced collaborative efforts to grow Denver’s retail economy by completing a comprehensive study of opportunities and weaknesses, with a defined strategy to address each
- Partnered with Denver International Airport to launch a new concession loan program to support up to $250,000 or 25 percent of the startup costs for dining/shopping projects by minority and women small business owners
- Launched the Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus program with down payment grants to help spur home sales to qualifying low- and moderate-income buyers in the metro area, with nearly half of the 319 sales occurring in Denver
Copies of the annual report are available online at www.denvergov.org/oed.