Commercial real estate investments in the Denver, Colorado area doubled year-over-year in 2010, making Denver one of the top ten markets for preferred investment in 2010[1]. This year, investors spent $1.01 billion in the city, compared to $448 million in 2009. Analysts for the area believe that these numbers are a good indication that the commercial market in Denver is on the mend and should continue to normalize according to Mike Winn, executive vice president of Denver’s Cushman & Wakefield office.

A big part of Denver’s advantage in the commercial market is that area properties are selling for record-setting prices. This has helped solidify the commercial market in the area even though transaction volumes are still lower than might be hoped, with 54 office, retail and industrial properties selling this year. Thus far, the biggest deal in the area was the 561,691-square-foot Granite Tower, and office building that sold for $149 million ($265 per square foot) earlier in the year. However, another office building called the 1800 Larimer building is expected to sell for $400 per square foot early in 2011, setting a “per-square-foot record” for an office building sold in Denver.

Denver’s commercial assets are largely “stabilized,” meaning that they are generating profits rather than draining their owner’s assets. This type of property is a prime target for investors and investing groups, and, according to Mary Sullivan of CB Richard Ellis Investment Properties, buyers are paying a “scarcity premium” for these types of assets. In response, more Denver owners are putting properties up for sale and the market in the area is burgeoning. In some cases, according to Sullivan, “values are exceeding pricing that was paid at the peak of the [2007 real estate] frenzy.”

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