Dubious economic outlook and the continuous challenges bringing office workers back, married with record sales figures, makes Boulder once again an interesting market. This was the year of high-water marks for Boulder. Largest single transaction over $620 million followed by numerous other significant sales keeping Boulder County on many investors radar screens. Most of this big investment money is chasing the Life Science industry. According to the FMI Consulting, Life Science is part of the “New Economy” thanks in part to nearly 60% of adults using at least one prescription drug on a regular basis… no surprise Life Science is an asset class here to stay.

While we would like to lean into normalcy for the office sector, there still is no defined term for normal and we may all never agree what “normal” means regarding when to go to the office, who goes to the office and what an office looks like. This will force leaders to make important decisions regarding their real estate from space optimization to work force models. In the meantime, sublease numbers will continue to rise and impact office vacancy for at least the remainder of 2023 and likely deep into 2024.

Six taxes on the Boulder ballot passed this Fall with the most notable impacting both commercial and residential real estate is the library district. Regarding commercial, the operating expenses are already pushing the envelope for many small companies to absorb and this increase won’t help… Especially Downtown when taxes are already so high.

As usual, it’s good to have your city home to a world renown research university. CU’s vibrant ecosystem generated $658 million in gift and awards including $474 million from federal agencies.

And finally, speaking of the University; maybe the most exciting news for Boulder, perhaps the state, is the arrival of Coach Prime as CU’s new head football coach. Not exactly real estate news, but make no mistake, he has already made an impact on the world of college football, which in turn puts Boulder in the spotlight. We are told applications are up, social media imprints are off the charts and for the first time in DECADES, University of Colorado football is in the national conversation. Now, how will Coach Prime’s arrival impact commercial real estate? Probably not directly, but when you live/work in a college town, and the football is once again relevant overnight, good things happen for all. Stadiums fill up, hotels fill up, restaurants fill up, retail sales go up….winning is fun and contagious. “We Comin’” is real and we hope all the businesses in town support this exciting new era of college football.

Like the beginning of each year, we always look back and find many reasons to be grateful. Looking ahead , 2023 will not disappoint, but best to buckle up.

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