November 10, 2016

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 provides next steps that enhance job growth, driving regional and statewide economic development. The study, a thorough analysis of economic development implications 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.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the National Western Center’s vision to grow our local and regional economy,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We will be exploring the possible synergies between the National Western Center, Denver International Airport and Colorado State University in Fort Collins creating the Agriculture Innovation Triangle focusing on industries such as food, animal health and water – all of which are part of the National Western Center vision. Based on the study, these industries have a clear potential to bring new jobs to the campus and across the Front Range.”

The study identifies several industry sector, cluster, and end-market opportunities that build on inherent regional strengths and demonstrate solid future growth adding new and good paying jobs. 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. The greater National Western Center site area is identified as a potential place-based district that can leverage federal funding for research to spin off ideas into private sector opportunities.

“Denver’s incredibly strong culture of innovation is poised to rise to an ever higher level through the greater National Western Center redevelopment,” said Paul Washington, Executive Director of the Denver Office of Economic Development. “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.


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