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DENVER-With all of the bad news about the Denver-area real estate market, it’s easy to forget that there still has been demand for corporate headquarters here.

“Denver has become a fertile ground for corporate headquarters, evidenced by the completion of two large office transactions in the first quarter of 2003 and the anticipated completion of three other large leases that could breathe additional life back into the suffering local economy and the office market,” notes a recent report by Julien J. Studley.

The report reminds people that Gates Corp. leased the entire 285,197-sf building at Legacy Plaza in the Central Platte Valley, vacating a 24-acre site at Broadway and Interstate 25. Gates considered leaving Denver before choosing the Legacy site.

In addition, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer leased 76,064-sf at Peakview Tower along the southeast corridor.

In another feather in Denver’s cap, the Sports Authority, which recently merged with Denver-based Gart Sports, to become the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer in the nation, is moving its headquarters to Englewood, CO, where Gart is located. That deal is expected to take place in the third quarter.

EchoStar, the giant satellite TV company based in Littleton, CO, also recently bought the former Merrill Lynch site in the Meridian International Business Park in Douglas County.Adelphia Communications, a cable TV company in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is moving its headquarters to Denver. And Charter Communications, based in St. Louis, is considering Denver as its headquarters.

On the other hand, it may be a case of for every step forward, the market takes another one back. Last Friday, California-based PeopleSoft completed its purchase of locally based J.D. Edwards, a software giant, in a $1.8 billion deal. That means that the headquarters for the combined company will now be in Pleasant, CA. Analysts expect that the merger could mean the elimination of about 1,000 jobs, with the lion’s share of the cuts taking place at J.D. Edwards.

Also, Invesco, the giant mutual fund company based in the Denver Tech Center, across the street from J.D. Edwards, is moving some of its operations to Houston. There is some fear that Invesco ultimately will relocate to Houston from Denver.

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