Tami Door will step down as president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership this fall after 17 years at the helm of the economic development organization, a period that covered downtown’s biggest expansion in a generation.
On Wednesday morning, as she was preparing to inform the partnership’s staff of her decision, Door reflected on everything that has changed downtown during her tenure.
“We as a city have built something extraordinary,” Door said. “I think it is an incredible opportunity to step back and look at it more holistically.”
Door, a native of Flint, Michigan, was named president and CEO in February 2005. Before that, she had been an executive vice president of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest regional chamber at the time, and led a five-state division of the First Chicago NDA bank. That business experience was integral to her successes in Denver, she said.
One of Door’s first major undertakings was working on the 2007 Downtown Area Plan that guides development in the city core.
“In 2005, we deeply considered that we needed to attract the future workforce and we spent an extraordinary amount of time thinking about what it would take to get talented individuals to move to Denver,” she said.
Thanks to a boom in new residential development in the city’s core and the arrival of new employers, large and small, the population in the city’s core neighborhoods has exploded over the last decade, from roughly 63,000 in 2010 to more than 95,000 as of last year, according to the partnership’s most recent State of Downtown Denver report.
The city’s knack for attracting highly educated millennials is among the things Doors counts as her greatest successes. She also celebrated the creation of the Commons on Champa and the partnership’s role in the launch of Denver Startup Week as things that will keep the city strong going forward even in the wake of a pandemic that has decimated downtown retailers and emptied out chunks of office space over the last 18 months.
“We are not dealing with a market-driven challenge, we are coming out of the pandemic challenge,” Door said of downtown Denver today. “We built this city to be resilient. We built this city to be able to stand the test of time.”
Door said the timing of her departure has nothing to do with COVID-19 and said she does not plan to run for office. She is the second economic development leader to announce her resignation recently. Kelly Brough plans to step down from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 1,
With the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, the commercial property tax-funded entity that maintains 120 blocks of downtown, approved for another 10 years and major projects like the reconstruction of the 16th Street Mall on deck, Door said now is a good time to step away.
“This is a really strong transition point,” she said.
She plans to stay on with the partnership through mid-November to ensure a “strong and healthy” transfer to new leadership. After that she intends to remain available to the organization and others in the community.
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