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National Western Center Economic Study Encourages Creation of Regional “Agriculture Innovation Triangle”

DENVER – The NextGEN Agribusiness Economic Development Study released today by the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center and the Office of Economic Development identifies emerging opportunities in the agriculture, technology, innovation and research industries along the Front Range, and provide next steps to enhance job growth and drive regional and statewide economic development.

The study, an analysis of economic development opportunities associated with the National Western Center revitalization, is a follow up from an existing study released by Colorado State University, “Emergence of an Innovation Cluster in the Agriculture Value Chain along Colorado’s Front Range” issued in 2014.

“This is our launching point for creating the next generation economy right here in Denver  by growing industries that have a clear potential to bring new jobs to the campus and across the Front Range ,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said.  “We will be exploring the possible synergies between the National Western Center, Denver International Airport and Colorado State University to create an Agriculture Innovation Triangle, which focuses on  industries  like food, animal health and water – all of which are part of the National Western Center vision.”

The study identifies several industry sector, cluster, and end-market opportunities that build on regional strengths and demonstrate solid growth by adding new and good paying jobs. Industry clusters include water, manufacturing, aerospace and animal health, among others.

Key findings also highlight the importance of establishing a research and innovation district focused on agriculture, food production, and plant and life sciences.

“Denver’s incredibly strong culture of innovation is poised to rise to an ever higher level through the greater National Western Center redevelopment,” Paul Washington, Executive Director of the Denver Office of Economic Development said. “We’re excited to advance the NextGEN findings forward, and to incorporate these strategies as a primary component of our greater economic development.”

“The NextGEN study complements the existing uses planned for the site and provides a recommended roadmap that the National Western Center partners will explore,” said Kelly Leid, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center. “We are committed to digging deeper into the data to make sure we create aggressive yet realistic strategies that will help grow our local and statewide economy. We are excited to learn more about the industries that we can help grow with the redevelopment of the National Western Center.”

The study also calls for active engagement with current and future stakeholders and partners who can help inform the strategic direction of the economic development strategy for the campus. In 2017, the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center will launch a follow up effort to the study that will further explore the opportunities within the Agriculture Innovation Triangle and advance the analysis of the initial findings.

The NextGEN Agribusiness Economic Development Study was released during a forum attended by approximately 100 business and industry leaders today. The study was completed by AECOM, with support from a committee including the City and County of Denver, Colorado State University, and the Western Stock Show Association.

The NextGEN Agribusiness Economic Development Strategy is available online at www.denvergov.org/NationalWestern.