Premier Mortgage Company recently hosted a private forum at eTown in Boulder where representatives from Google and Twitter shared information about their local operations and workforces. Both companies cited similar reasons for having a presence in Boulder: it’s getting harder to hire new talent in the Bay Area.
With Silicon Valley’s high cost of living, congestion, and long commute times, areas like Boulder are increasingly more attractive for employers. The Front Range—sometimes called “Silicon Mountain” for its vibrant tech sector—is viewed as a strong alternative to Silicon Valley, especially with CU, CSU, and UNC churning out qualified graduates.
Amazon is a new corporate neighbor, announcing expansion into a new downtown Boulder office for the technology team that supports their advertising business. The Denver Business Journal reported in August that Amazon has been hiring for software development, data center operations, IT engineering, and web services positions in Boulder, Broomfield, and Denver. Amazon cited the benefits of Boulder’s live, work, and play lifestyle and the favorable weather as reasons to locate here.
There were rumors of a Mark Zuckerberg sighting in Boulder in October, fueling speculation that Facebook could be an addition to the local tech landscape. Back in March 2018, Facebook confirmed that they were hiring in Denver and applied for a zoning permit for office space on 16th Street. At the time, Facebook used co-working space on Park Ave.
Our clients often ask us about the relocation activity associated with the growing presence of Google, Twitter, and other local tech employers such as Zayo, LogRythm, Spotx, VMWare, and WebRoot. The majority of Twitter’s roughly 130 employees are already from Boulder, with only 10 to 20 percent relocating. Approximately 65 percent of Google’s employees are local. Many of Google’s transferees and new hires are millennials and aspirational homeowners, choosing to accept a move to Boulder in hopes of being able to purchase their first home. Our area’s rising home prices are becoming a big issue for some, and only about 35 percent of Google’s employees actually live in Boulder County, the rest choosing to live elsewhere due partially to local home prices.
The steady upward trend of our area’s home prices should continue as tech employers continue to hire. The more affordable areas in and adjacent to Boulder County—Longmont, Superior, Erie, Lafayette, Broomfield—should continue to appreciate as they attract tech workers with healthy salaries who appreciate the reasonable commutes and quality of life here.