Multifamily construction is big business. But not all multi-family is the same. Urban planners say there's a difference between a neighborhood that's mostly condo owners, and a neighborhood that's mostly apartment renters. And in Denver, Colorado, the future seems to be apartments, reports the Denver Westword ("Has condo development hit a wall in Denver?" by Melanie Asmar.
In a long analysis, Westword looks at the history of multifamily construction in Denver, where the numbers indicate a sea change. Reports Westword: "For instance, during 2007, at a time when residential construction was on the decline nationwide, there were 112 apartment units and 870 condo units built in the city's central neighborhoods, according to the Downtown Denver Partnership. As of this July, that ratio had been reversed in a major way. A whopping 7,148 apartments were planned or under construction, the organization says, while the number of condos being built was a meager 145 units."
The reason could be litigation by construction-defect lawyers, who have scored big bucks by taking on condo builders. But the attorneys who specialize in suing the builders say the lag in condo starts is caused by the economy, not by the lawsuits. Each side says state laws favor the other — and legislators are currently considering revising those laws.