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DENVER-Fantus Corporate Real Estate Solutions, a division of Deloitte & Touche that specializes in regional corporate relocation evaluation, recently completed a study for Metro Denver Network, the economic development branch of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. Fantus compared Denver to Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, the Raleigh-Durham area and major European and Asian countries, including Ireland and Korea.

The idea is to see how attractive Denver is compared to other area of the country and the world.

“We are a globally-positioned community and we must keep this in mind as we work in the areas of economic development and corporate attraction,” says Joe Blake, president and CEO for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “This information will certainly serve as a resource in our ongoing development of the metro area’s national and international economic development strategies.”

The research looked at three main areas:

* The criteria that companies use to evaluate various cities as potential sites for locating or expanding operations.

* Regional, national and international cities that are most competitive with the Denver market.

* Denver’s ranking based on both evaluation criteria and competing cities.

Cost reduction and the ability to recruit scientific, engineering, technical and skilled production talent are two of the key issues affecting location strategy for technology companies, as well as having an environment conducive to attracting these skilled professionals. For new production operations, the strategy focuses on more traditional measures such as labor, freight, taxes, utilities and real estate.

“Overall, Denver is well positioned to compete globally because even though it is no longer a low-cost market, it is not high-cost either,” says Philip Schneider, partner with Fantus Corporate Real Estate Solutions. “This research is essentially a 5,000 foot fly-over.”

Some of Denver’s strengths presented in the analysis include excellent labor market growth, an educated labor force, moderate costs, excellent air service and access, past success with technology industries, good position in key technology targets and many appealing quality-of-life attributes.

Some of Denver’s challenges include increasing national and global competition, rising costs, traffic congestion, few incentives tools resulting in challenges at the state economic development level.

“As Denver moves forward with its’ economic development objectives, public-private partnerships will play a significant role in the overarching strategy,” says Bill Sutphen, division vice president and general manager for Coors Distributing Co. and chair of the MDN’s Business Acquisition and Retention Task Force. “This must be a key emphasis as we develop a strategic plan to continue attracting growing biotech, space and high-technology companies.

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