Client: La Plata County Economic Development Alliance
The La Plata County Economic Development Alliance retained Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A) to evaluate the market demand for office and industrial uses in La Plata County. GG+A’s research and analysis considered the market from both micro and macro perspectives. At the micro level, we conducted interviews with knowledgeable developers, engineers, architects, and real estate brokers. We conducted interviews with representatives of business operating in La Plata County. We also designed and analyzed a survey of La Plata County businesses directed at obtaining information about their location decisions and potential expansion plans. We also conducted interviews with community leaders and economic development and community development professionals.
We directed the interviews and survey in conjunction with a review of area office and industrial space building space supply to identify the primary geographic areas from which users of office and industrial space in La Plata County tend to move and competing locations for such users. These interviews also elicited insights about advantages and disadvantages associated with locations in La Plata County and the dynamics underlying the demand for real estate and the types of firms attracted to locations in La Plata County. At the macro level, we collected and analyzed time-series data on the office and industrial real estate markets. We also collected and analyzed labor force data and trends. We projected demand for building space in the relevant market area by analyzing employment data for firms in economic sectors likely to use office and industrial space given an identification of the amount and characteristics of the supply of existing building space and land within La Plata County. Based on an assessment of the factors that make successful office space and industrial space locations and results of the field research and interviews, we also identified locations at which the forecast potential office space and industrial space demand could potentially be served. GG+A identified innovative strategies and policy options to facilitate the attraction and retention of office and industrial uses and facilitate the development of office and industrial building space. GG+A conducted a seminar with staff and members of the Alliance Board and gave a presentation to a wide array of municipal and county staff and officials as well as members of the Alliance and other stakeholders as well as a presentation to members of the City of Durango City Council and La Plata County Board of Commissioners. The Executive Director of the Alliance wrote the following: “This is an extremely impressive report. I am really excited by your recommendations. These are nothing the Alliance has thought of and really give us a lot to chew on. I don’t think anyone has come forward with this level of new thinking in the last 15 years here, so people better appreciate it!”