Tech companies coming to Colorado usually look to either Boulder or downtown Denver for their locations, even in today’s uncertain office market. But as hybrid work persists and Front Range prices keep climbing, a few rural gems are raising their hands as potential alternatives for trendy employers.

Aided by improving internet connections and adjacency to the state’s main draw, its quality of life via the Rocky Mountains, sparsely populated counties like Fremont and Chaffee are adding tech jobs, although it’s just a trickle.

While these emerging hubs are illustrative of the potential for Colorado’s tech industry, they also illustrate one of the market’s greatest weaknesses: The state most commonly attracts regional offices instead of headquarters, said Andy Cullen, managing broker at Tributary Real Estate in Denver.

Regional offices tend to be more susceptible to economic downturns because companies will essentially “roll up” their workforce to the main headquarters, Cullen said.

That means large local employers like Zoom and RingCentral, both of which are headquartered in California, could be willing to ditch their Denver offices to consolidate their workforce. There have also been companies that chose to downsize from a directly leased office to a coworking space because their workforce needs that level of flexibility, he said.

“These companies are catering to a talent pool that doesn’t have to specifically be in any one place,” Cullen said.

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