Downtown Denver’s big boom continues, but report shows people living in prosperous area overwhelmingly white, single and well off

If you’ve looked east from Sloan’s Lake Park and played a game of count the cranes, you’ve seen it. If you’ve taken the MallRide from Civic Center Station down to Blake Street for a Rockies game, you’ve felt it.

But the eye-popping numbers in a new report put a fine point on it: Downtown Denver is bigger, denser and more economically alive than it has ever been, and the growth shows no sign of abating.

One thing the area is not, however, is diverse.

Here are some facts: There are 133,478 people now working downtown, an all-time high. Twenty-three thousand people live in the six-neighborhood downtown area, three times as many as called it home in 2000. More than $1.35 billion in new development was completed in 2017 and the first part of 2018 and another $2.26 billion worth is in the works. Those pipeline projects are expected to bring 4,525 more residential units to Ballpark, LoDo, Central Platte Valley, Auraria, Golden Triangle and Central Business District neighborhoods.

Those numbers are just part of the data encapsulated in State of Downtown Denver 2018 report, released Wednesday by the Downtown Denver Partnership.

“Downtown is really is the heart of the community, and the heart of the local economy. It’s important for us understand our overall health,” Randy Thelen, the partnership’s vice president of economic development, said this week. “This year, we are pleased to be able to report that downtown is performing exceptionally well.”

The economic indicators — retail vacancy, hotel occupancy, etc. — are overwhelmingly positive. But the report paints a clear picture that not everyone living in Denver is enjoying its prosperity equally. The downtown population is overwhelmingly white, single and well paid.

The report shows that the media age of a downtown Denver resident is 34 and 81 percent of them live alone. Just 4 percent live with kids.

About 76 percent of downtown residents are white. Hispanics are the largest minority group at 8 percent. People of Asian descent make up 5 percent of the population, and black people 4 percent. Denver County as a whole was 54 percent white, 30 percent Latino or Hispanic and 10 percent black or African American as of the 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

About seven out of every 10 downtown residents has an bachelor’s degree or better. The average household income is $120,099, nearly double Denver’s area median income of $63,000.

At the Downtown Denver Partnership’s State of Downtown breakfast Wednesday morning, the issue of lack of diversity and economic inclusiveness came up more than once, with some painting it as a serious issue that could drag down continued growth.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Business


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