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Posted: May 01, 2012

Rolling out the welcome mat

From Fort Collins to Trinidad, here’s what 27 economic-development offices around the state are doing

Nora Caley

Companies that want to relocate or expand often find that tax breaks, grants and reimbursements are good reasons to locate a business in Colorado, but economic development directors say they do more than offer financial incentives to attract businesses. Companies also want a quick permitting process, an educated work force and local governments that work together (Read about all 27 best places to do business here, here and here.)

A few examples:

• Coleman, the outdoor products company that left Jefferson County for Kansas in 1997, is returning to Jeffco after the EDC worked to secure the log-cabin office building that Coleman previously occupied.

• Englewood developed a plan to make up for the revenue that the shopping mall Cinderella City would no longer generate when it closed.

• Northwest Douglas County worked with Sterling Ranch to plan a development that would not only use less water, but also change Colorado’s rainwater collection law.

• The city of Sterling devised a plan to ensure the penitentiary isn’t the only revenue generator in the isolated northeast corner of the state.

Often, collaboration among economic development offices is required to achieve a collective greater good.

Take the Vestas deal, said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. The Denmark-based wind turbine manufacturer agreed to open research and manufacturing facilities in Windsor, Pueblo, Brighton and Louisville after communicating with representatives from the State of Colorado, Metro Denver EDC, local business publications, RTD, the aforementioned local EDCs and a landowner. Vestas received several million dollars in incentives from the state and from counties.

"The end result of this effort was 1,700 Vestas jobs in Colorado and the resulting suppliers and other multiplier-related jobs," Clark said.

"None of these big deals get done without a boatload of partners who act collaboratively, holding one another in trust while maintaining the highest levels of confidentiality," Clark said. "Without all these pieces fitting together into an extraordinary and constantly changing team, none of our projects would meet with much success."

Nora Caley is a freelance writer specializing in business and food topics. She can be reached at noracaley@comcast.net.

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