Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Like to shop and dine?

2015 will be a great year!

Sam Zaitz //January 6, 2015//

Like to shop and dine?

2015 will be a great year!

Sam Zaitz //January 6, 2015//

Denver’s retail and restaurant scene was abuzz during the past year, with scores of openings throughout the metro area.  And 2015 should be just as exciting, as new chefs enter the market with their own unique menus, and creative shops and boutiques continue to fill retail space at a variety of new and existing developments.These smaller operators will be joined by larger brands that want to increase their market presence in Denver, or, enter our strong and growing marketplace for the first time.

Some of the restaurant and retail highlights of the past, present and future include:

New Development

It’s impossible not to notice all of the cranes hovering above the Denver skyline, constructing new office buildings, apartment communities and mixed-use projects.  What you may not be aware of is what’s going on at the ground level of many of these projects.The owners and developers of these massive investments are making retail and restaurant tenants an important part of what they are bringing to market.There’s no denying that all of this new construction will play a significant role in Denver’s future, and smart developers are doing all they can to provide services and amenities that contribute to the surrounding community as a whole.

Net Absorption

With all the new construction, it’s obviously critical to be able to fill the empty spaces. And that has been only a matter of time for the vast majority of new and existing properties.  Occupancy levels continue to climb with vacancy rates below 7 percent and so do rental rates at some of the city’s premier locations. We are seeing the average lease rate surpass $15.50 per square foot and some of the all-time high rental rates in the fifties per square foot.  Some of the historically popular locations include Cherry Creek North, downtown Denver, while new and rapidly emerging sites include River North, the Union Station redevelopment and Belleview Station in the Denver Tech Center. Other locations that have established their own strong stature in recent years include the Highlands and Uptown, where popular trends are finding a strong foothold.

Hot Spots

As reflected in the net absorption numbers, some of Denver’s most significant and new retail and restaurant hot spots include Union Station and River North.  The Union Station redevelopment alone has delivered with 12 new retailers during the past year, including the announcements of Whole Foods and King Soopers coming to the central hub of Denver’s mass transit site, along with exciting new restaurant concepts.  The pioneering River North Neighborhood (affectionately referred to as RiNo), has welcomed the highly popular The Source culinary marketplace, along with the announcement of expansion plans for The Great Divide. These are two of the more publicized areas of town, but creative new concepts continue to pop-up along Colfax, 17th Street and South Broadway, as well as quieter pockets around town, including Park Hill, Washington Park, LoHi, Jefferson Park, Berkeley and DU.

Mall Construction

While it’s not taking place within Denver city limits, sizeable new retail construction is taking place along the Front Range.  In Fort Collins and Longmont, construction is underway on two large shopping mall redevelopments that will include entertainment users, grocery stores, big box retail and many restaurants to enjoy spending discretionary income.  In Castle Rock, the Shops at Castle Rock will be completed by 2016 and provide shoppers and diners with a great place to enjoy a way to splurge on this popular southern plateau.

Popular and New

The list could go on and on, but some of the most popular new and upcoming entrees to the local restaurant and retail scene include well-known names such as Trader Joes, Dunkin Donuts and Del Frisco’s Grill.  Fast casual restaurants such as Zoe’s, Blaze Pizza, Mod Pizza, Live Basil (from SmashBurger), Pizzeria Locale (from Chipotle), Potbelly, Bad Daddy Burger and several other new entrants are enhancing the Denver dining scene.  New sit down restaurants include STK, Thirsty Lion and Hop Doddy, and the ever-burgeoning microbreweries and brew pubs are providing plenty of options for people to quench their thirst.

As a restaurant and retail destination, Denver is more popular than ever.  The metro area has become a focal point for both the well-established and up-and-coming retail and restaurant concepts to make their presence known.  The key to their success is finding the best location for them, where they can satisfy the growing tastes and demands of the local market.