Colorado’s growth spurs government land grabbing – and it’s getting expensive

When a reporter on the business desk for the Denver Post left for a new job, she pitched a story to me that she had on her list but did not have time to start. A local art printing business was forced to move out of its location in downtown Denver after the state’s department of transportation seized the business’ front parking lot in order to expand a major street. After researching the history of eminent domain cases in the state and requesting data from government agencies, I produced an article that told a story of a dramatic increase in land acquisitions due to Colorado’s rapid expansion, and how it was affecting businesses and homeowners throughout the state.


After more than 30 years in Denver, Reed Art & Imaging is moving its custom print shop to Lakewood. Such a move would typically mean expansion or prosperity for a business, but it is quite the opposite for the Reeds. They say they were forced to leave and now fear they may go out of business.

The family business’ parking lot was taken in an eminent domain deal for the expansion of Federal Boulevard — one of several major construction projects in the Denver metro area that are spurring an increase in right-of-way land acquisition. Without a secure and easily accessible loading area for customers’ large pieces of artwork, the business cannot function, the Reeds said.

“It’s painful,” said founder and owner Bob Reed. “The fact that we didn’t shut our doors is a blessing, but it didn’t come easy.”

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