Downtown Denver (Central Business District) Retail

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SamSpade
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Downtown Denver (Central Business District) Retail

Post by SamSpade »

This is only day 1 of me being here so I don't know for sure yet, but so far this is the worst urban center I've been in for shopping in some time.

Target actually has a good "city" store here, built like most of them were, on 2nd & 3rd floor of a building. It was comparable to the Portland, Ore. store (no Starbucks though) and smaller than Seattle's.

Most things weren't locked (inexpensive men's underwear is) and tons of travel sizes were right by the entrance and registers. Exiting was strange like Portland, where the registers are to the side of escalators/elevator.

I didn't really see much other downtown retail. People are carrying bags around from Ross and I saw Walgreens is still on the 16th Street Mall. The pedestrian mall is currently a horrid mess, I can only assume to update lighting, traffic signals, and pavement. The free bus remains clean, accessible, and around between the Capitol and Union Station. Union Station was fun to poke around but is almost all dining, not retail (cute recreation of The Tattered Cover bookstore though).
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Re: Downtown Denver (Central Business District) Retail

Post by storewanderer »

Downtown Denver historically hasn't had much retail at all. It is only in recent years that enough residential development has occurred in the area that it has made more retail viable. It is a "new" downtown in my view.

16th Street Mall is all the retail they had before. There used to be a Walgreens and Rite Aid (former Payless) there. Maybe Walgreens still is.
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Re: Downtown Denver (Central Business District) Retail

Post by buckguy »

I was there not long before COVID. There was some retail development around the big hotels, but nothing really memorable. It's clear that the downtown business district once spanned close to a mile along 16th and adjacent streets toward Union Station--I stayed in a repurposed warehouse/industrial building a few blocks from the mall. The last of the department stores closed in the 90s. This was a major market for May and they absorbed Denver Dry Goods (an Associated Dry Goods Chain) which was their main competition. There's an REI flagship more or less at the end of 16th across the river and opposite a park, which creates a nice setting. It's smaller than the Seattle flagship, but still quite large.
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Re: Downtown Denver (Central Business District) Retail

Post by storewanderer »

buckguy wrote: April 14th, 2024, 7:14 am I was there not long before COVID. There was some retail development around the big hotels, but nothing really memorable. It's clear that the downtown business district once spanned close to a mile along 16th and adjacent streets toward Union Station--I stayed in a repurposed warehouse/industrial building a few blocks from the mall. The last of the department stores closed in the 90s. This was a major market for May and they absorbed Denver Dry Goods (an Associated Dry Goods Chain) which was their main competition. There's an REI flagship more or less at the end of 16th across the river and opposite a park, which creates a nice setting. It's smaller than the Seattle flagship, but still quite large.
The downtown still needs to find itself. It is nice since there is a lot of new stuff and the public transit system there in Denver is quite good, but the downtown as a whole doesn't yet feel particularly memorable. I stayed downtown once and haven't stayed downtown again. No issues with it, just prefer to be out in the suburbs south of Denver. For convenience purposes I may even consider staying in the boring sterile "Denver Tech Center" area over downtown in the future. I'd stay downtown over the area by the airport though..
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Re: Downtown Denver (Central Business District) Retail

Post by SamSpade »

Found the traditional "mall" on the 16th St. Mall, it's named Denver Pavilions. It is struggling with a lot of the 'youth focused' tenants gone. Uniqlo was here but left, Forever 21 was here, now the only hang-on appears to be H&M. I guess H&M must get pretty good rent deals, they seem to make interesting lingering location choices.

We did have a pleasant meal in a relatively busy Maggiano's Little Italy and there is still a Henry's Tavern here that also had customers sitting alongside its open windows (long since closed in its original location, Portland, Ore.). The other major chains open are in a lot of tourist areas - Rocky Mtn. Chocolate Factory and It's Sugar. I did see folks with bags from both walking around.

The movie theater in the complex is signed "United Artists" but is now of course Regal. Didn't see a lot of foot traffic going to that third level, but the other things up there are smart choices for that kind of floor in a mall (Lucky Strike, Coyote Ugly Saloon). Sephora has a store on the first level.

One distressed sign of the center was a group of young people recklessly circling through on Lime scooters at a high rate of speed (Brakes squealing every time a curve came along) and that continued on through my earlier afternoon visit. No sign of property security. However, many people also felt comfortable walking through this center and lounging on the available furniture on the ground level.
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