Vacancy rate of Denver office space going up as empty space accrues in downtown

A bunch of downtown Denver skyscrapers on a sunny, blue-sky day.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Downtown Denver on a sunny day. May 8, 2024.

The amount of empty office space in the Denver area keeps climbing.

The vacancy rate edged up in the second quarter to about 24 percent, according to a new report from real estate services firm CBRE. Downtown Denver and RiNo have the highest percentage of empty office real estate among the 15 neighborhoods CBRE tracks. Meanwhile, Cherry Creek has one of the lowest rates.

Empty office space has been piling up ever since the pandemic ushered in the era of remote work more than four years ago. Initially, city leaders in Denver pushed businesses to get workers back downtown to help small businesses that rely on that foot traffic. But many companies have settled into a new norm where people work from home at least a few days a week. That trend doesn’t appear to be reversing.

In May, Mayor Mike Johnston announced a plan that could raise $500 million to revitalize downtown, including funds to turn unused office space into apartments.

While office vacancies are rising, the amount of office space under construction is falling, CBRE data show. Office construction was down 61 percent in the second quarter.