Author:Caley, Nora


When Target announced last year that it would open a smaller format store in downtown Denver, the Minneapolis-based mass retailer was not just heralding another location to buy scented soy candles, K-beauty cosmetics and private label trail mix. The announcement seemed to indicate that the central business district is evolving from an eight-hour workplace destination to a 12-hour work/play destination to a 24-hour work/play/live destination.

"When we evaluate new store locations, we analyze extensive data to identify areas where Target can help fill a need," spokesperson Jacque DeBuse says. "The size and vibrancy of Denver's downtown community, including daytime professionals and round-the-clock residents, present Target with an opportunity to serve new guests, and we're thrilled to open our doors this summer."

The Target grand opening, scheduled for July 22, also is evidence that Downtown Denver Partnership's 20-year Downtown Area Plan, which began in 2007, was on track. The plan Includes making the city prosperous, walkable, diverse, distinctive and green. "We addressed place-making, economic development, public policy, safety, security, mobility--we look at all of these components," says Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. "We have made incredible progress."

Retail experts agree Denver is evolving. "We are in a sweet spot between second-tier city and superstar city," says Mark S!dell, president of Gart Properties, the developer of the Target store in the California Mall building on 16th and California streets. "It's an envious positon to be in because there are many things that come with being a superstar city that are a burden, such as paralyzing traffic, which we do not have."

Traffic and other issues are covered in Downtown Denver Partnership's report, "Transforming Mobility in Downtown Denver." The report, released in March, outlines how residents commute to work, how the numbers compare with other cities and how the organization is working to reduce the share of commuters driving alone to under 35 percent by 2021. Over the past five years, the report notes, downtown Denver's population grew 30 percent, and 39 percent of commuters drive alone. In fact, 61 percent of downtown commuters say they would use transit if driving was too expensive or took too long.

The report also notes that efforts are being made to make parking easy to find and...

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