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A rendering of Crescent's RiNo development that recently broke ground. Image courtesy of Crescent Communities

If it seems like out-of-state developers are snatching up property in Denver, it's not your imagination.

What's happening: A handful of major developers — including two from North Carolina — are prospecting fast-growing cities like Denver.

  • The reasons are simple: the large talent pool, quality of life and manageable cost of living compared with large metros like New York and San Francisco.
  • Other top new cities on the list include Austin, Charlotte and Nashville.

What they're saying: Daniel Zunker, president of development at Kairoi Residential in Denver, described the four cities as the "new guard," fast-growing cities ripe for investment.

  • "That's where action is happening. That’s where businesses are going to be started. That’s where entrepreneurship is going to flourish," Zunker recently told Katie.

Between the lines: The market is ripe. Denver added more than 124,000 residents from 2010 to 2019, a 21% increase that exceeded the growth in total housing units, state figures show.

The state of play: Last month, Charlotte-based Crescent Communities made its debut in the city with a 483-unit luxury apartment building in RiNo, and more properties are in the pipeline.

  • "We wanted to be in what we believed will be a high-growth, high-potential market," said Brian Natwick, president and chief operating officer of Crescent.

Another developer, New York-based Acram Group, is close to finalizing a deal for a property in Denver, which will be its first in the city.

  • "It’s a market we’ve been trying hard to get into," managing principal Matt Cassin said.

Asana Partners, another Charlotte firm, acquired the historic Larimer Square in December from longtime owner Jeff Hermanson.

  • The company also put more than $11 million into numerous properties on Denver's beloved Tennyson Street in the last two years, the Denver Business Journal reports.

Of note: In Charlotte, Asana is well-known for pumping millions into historic properties in hot areas. It’s unclear what exactly Asana has planned for Larimer Square. A company representative declined to comment.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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A Texas nonprofit that recently hired a Biden transition official got a contract worth as much as $530 million to help manage the influx of migrant children at the southern border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The contract is by far the largest ever awarded to Family Endeavors. It's potentially worth more than 12 times the group's most recently reported annual budget — a sign of the demand the new work will place on its operations.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: $1 million ad buy defends Georgia law to business critics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A leading conservative group is targeting the business community with a seven-figure ad buy on CNBC and local TV defending Georgia's new voting law from its corporate critics, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: By focusing on the C-suite through a network it watches, Heritage Action for America is offering a rejoinder to some companies — even Major League Baseball — after they waded so prominently into politics.