Does $110 million to NREL mean jobs for Colorado?

As a Boulder Realtor who makes his living helping people buy and sell Boulder real estate, I constantly get questions about property values. Will they go up, or will they go down is the most common question. What I’d like to watch happen is what this $110 million dollars of federal stimulus money into NREL means for us locally.

Like most areas of the nation, the local economic strength is driven by jobs. It’s not rocket science, although we have plenty of those guys around here, we don’t need that kind of technical expertise to understand that if jobs go away, people leave. When people leave in droves… selling their houses off at aggressively lower and lower prices, real estate values tank. And well, the swirling bowl takes over. We don’t have that problem.

Fortunately, this hasn’t been the pattern in the Boulder area. Boulder county has certainly seen it’s share of fluctuations in the job markets, as have other counties along the front range, but compared to several other parts of the country (can you say “Michigan” for example?) we have it pretty darn good. Do you know someone who’s ready to move, or are you contemplating a move yourself? I’d like to start by learning more about your plans and what your most important needs are for that move. Call or email me today! As far as NREL goes, I think that it is similar to the ConocoPhillips development; we should look at this as more progress towards our region being poised for job growth and hence, economic vitality.

The U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, said recently that NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) in Golden will receive $110 million in federal stimulus money. The lab will likely spend that on both equipment and new facilities. This is a huge boost to the lab’s annual budget.Do you think it helps to have an energy secretary who’s a Nobel Laureate and also a scientist who’s worked in both the public and private sectors? I do.

NREL may also be eligible for another $83 million in stimulus funds from the Department of Energy for wind energy research. The first step is that they have to apply for the money.

The money coming to NREL, according to spokesman George Douglas, will create cash flow to the construction industry, and also perhaps some permanent jobs at the lab too. NREL employs scientists, researchers, academics and of course many administrative team members.

It seems like you sometimes just need to ask to get what you need. In a conversation I had last year with the NREL director, Dan Arvizu, he said that he had seen the lab through a period of tightening budgets until a conversation with staff from the Bush administration during their recent visit. Simply put, in response to questions about how the lab was doing, a request for money went through to the right people, and the lab stopped laying off staff.

Now let me say that nothing is as simple as it seems, and I’m certainly generalizing my comments as I remember them from a brief conversation with Arvizu from many months ago. But the concept is clear, ask for what you need and want, you may just get it.

My business is based in referrals and repeat clients, so I ask you, if you know someone is moving and could use expert help in the Boulder area market, would you call or email me so I can offer the guidance and support your friends and family need when making real estate decisions?

Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker® at RE/MAX Alliance Boulder

Comments

One Response to “Does $110 million to NREL mean jobs for Colorado?”

  1. Jay on May 11th, 2009 2:53 am

    Nice article. Every realtor gets this question. But a real professional can never say “I am sure, that the prices will go up/down” Even the best real estate wizards make mistakes. I always say facts, numbers and mu opinion how the next months may look. But the final decision belongs to the client…
    Take care

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