Wednesday July 30, 2014 0 comments
By Steve Porter
DENVER - Denver welcomed another future hotbed of entrepreneurial innovation to town with the opening of INDUSTRY in May.
Located just north of downtown at 3001 Brighton Blvd., the 120,000-square-foot development represents the rebirth of an industrial area that's getting a makeover for the 21st century.
On its website, INDUSTRY Denver proclaims itself to be a "nexus of creativity and technology" and "Denver's next hub for business, creativity, recreation, modern living and dining."
Sean Campbell is one of four partners spearheading the phased development of INDUSTRY, along with Jason and Ellen Winkler and Josh Marinos.
The first 50,000-square-foot phase of the development broke ground last October, with the first tenants moving in this spring.
A second 30,000-square-foot phase of the development is set to open in the middle of August, Campbell said, and is already fully leased.
Campbell said a third and final phase of the development - comprising about 60,000 square feet - will open in Q1 2015. Leasing for that phase is now underway.
Campbell said INDUSTRY is already off to a strong start as it joins Galvanize, Innovation Pavilion and other area startup incubators and accelerators in the Denver region.
"We've got about 130-plus technologists and 20 companies here," he said. "Once completed, we'll have about 450 to 550 folks working in the building."
Sixty-plus companies will be housed in INDUSTRY when it's fully opened, Campbell said.
"It's going to be a friendly, robust and dynamic ecosystem," Campbell predicts.
One of INDUSTRY's first, prime tenants is Fort Collins-based Innosphere, which was looking for a place to establish a Denver presence for its tech startup incubation.
"Innosphere specifically partnered with INDUSTRY to facilitate our launch in Metro Denver, given their vision for the INDUSTRY development and their expertise building an entrepreneurial ecosystem at their initial development, Battery 621," said Mike Freeman, Innosphere CEO.
"They are a fabulous partner and have helped significantly grow our resource base for startups in the Innosphere program."
Campbell said landing Innosphere was a coup for the development.
"We were looking actively to build the entrepreneur component, and we quickly realized the best-in-breed in the state was Rocky Mountain Innosphere," he said.
"They'll be front-and-center and a key ingredient to our ecosystem and help our emerging companies flourish."
Campbell said INDUSTRY is responding to a "paradigm shift" in how people office in 2014.
"The idea is to partner with folks like Innosphere and creating an atmosphere for new and growing companies to flourish," he said.
While INDUSTRY is home to strong local companies like Roximity and Cloud Elements and national transportation innovator Uber, Campbell notes it's not just for tech startups.
The development will also include general business office space and several fine dining establishments, he said.
"We have traditional businesses that fall into established areas," Campbell said. "I think it's a unique mashup."
Campbell notes the area around INDUSTRY and the original building itself is part of Denver's history when Brighton Boulevard was an industrial corridor into the heart of the city.
The original INDUSTRY building was constructed in 1939 and was where trains brought produce into the city that was then transferred to loading docks and shipped to restaurants and markets.
Other additions were added in the 1940s and 1950s, Cambell said.
"Brighton Bouevard has been the north entrance to Denver for many years," he said. "The natural place to redevelop was some of these buildings on the north end of downtown."
Campbell said he envisions INDUSTRY anchoring the revitalization of the Brighton corridor.
"Brighton (Boulevard) is going to change over the next two to five years and we're already seeing significant development," he said.
Campbell said he sees INDUSTRY adding to the overall innovation wave sweeping over Denver and Colorado and not in competition with established tech ecosystems like Galvanize and Innovation Pavilion.
"The things Galvanize and Innovation Pavilion are doing is amazing, and we're excited to be part of that and to be supportive and strategic with them," he said.
"We're just happy to be part of Denver and Colorado. I think the entrepreneurial spirit is exciting and we're excited to be a part of that."