As Denver, Colorado continues to boom and attract new business and economic investment, collaboration between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), local developers, and other stakeholders is continuing to create a nurturing ecosystem for cleantech. One effort to support this is the Colorado “Innovation Corridor” connecting resources from Denver International Airport (DIA) to Boulder, including the World Trade Center Denver (WTC) campus, a $200 million state-of-the art facility planned for the River North (RiNo) district of downtown Denver. FORMATIV, the project development mastermind and founding partner for the facility, has built a strong relationship with NREL over the past decade, and both organizations are excited to work together to support the Colorado Innovation Corridor.

FORMATIV has already begun work in the RiNo neighborhood and is laying the groundwork for the Innovation Corridor with unique projects like INDUSTRY, an inspired office environment custom-designed for collaboration and fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. Shared spaces, connectivity and lifestyle are key components of FORMATIV’s design focus, and these concepts are intimately intertwined into the WTC Denver facility plans. NREL and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) are working with FORMATIV and the WTC to bring the best and brightest ideas and technologies into the new space. FORMATIV’s President of Global Strategy and Chief Legal Officer, Eric Drummond, is proud of the relationship and collaboration involved with the project, and feels that “the resources associated with these two labs are unlike anything else in the world,” and he is “absolutely thrilled to have them as founding partners of The Innovation Corridor.”

The Innovation Corridor will make the Mile High City more connected than ever, with light rail lines and connected infrastructure linking downtown to newly bustling areas around Denver. From INDUSTRY, to the WTC Denver, to the National Western Center, to Peña Station, the Innovation Corridor is reinventing this section of Denver to lay the groundwork for future collaborative Smart City projects. This represents strategic development for the city and community of Denver, but it also serves as a greater example to other communities and urban developers to work together with their communities and bring the synergy of individual organizations together for the greater good.

Denver community leaders recently discussed the importance of public-private collaboration at the 2017 NREL Industry Growth Forum. NREL’s Bryan Hannegan and FORMATIV’s Eric Drummond, along with Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Shailen Bhatt and Jarrett Wendt of Panasonic, dove into what it takes to bring smart city concepts to Denver. The unanimous answer? Collaboration. To illustrate the impact of working together, Mr. Drummond shared an old African proverb: “If you want to go fast, run alone. If you want to go far, run together.” That is what this collaboration between NREL and FORMATIV is all about.

When the WTC Denver opens its doors (expected 2019), it will open doors to new opportunities for private companies to leverage innovation from the national labs, advance breakthrough technologies, and bolster Denver’s booming economy. The new space will connect clean energy technologies with investors and the community development marketplace, and will serve as a showcase for innovative technologies.