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Storefront pilot program ‘pops up’ on 16th Street Mall

The Downtown Denver Partnership is teaming up with Denver Economic Development & Opportunity to launch the Popup Denver retail activation program. In its pilot phase, five vacant storefronts in Upper Downtown (representing 30 percent of available spaces) will be competitively matched with entrepreneurs who will receive $20,000 in interior design, set-up and merchandising support.

The seven-person selection committee is made up of 16th Street Mall business owners and leadership from the Partnership and DEDO. Selected businesses will pay no base rent for the tenure of their popup (only operating expenses) for a minimum of three months. Special consideration will be given to businesses that are owned locally and/or will enhance the diversity of the 16th Street Mall, among other selection criteria. The program aims to provide an on-ramp for entrepreneurs to have permanent space on the 16th Street Mall after having the opportunity to pilot vacant retail spaces.

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Businesses are invited to team up with a joint application if they wish to operate a shared space. “It is with this type of business innovation and inclusivity that we’ve navigated the pandemic in Denver,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

The Popup Denver retail activation program is designed to empower a variety of businesses that ultimately contribute to the economic vitality of the center city. “Programs like Popup Denver are crucial in the Partnership’s mission to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that drives economic opportunity for all,” said Kourtny Garrett, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership.


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Applications are now open and local entrepreneurs are welcome to apply. The deadline is 5 p.m., March 4. Questions can be directed to the Partnership’s Senior Manager of Economic Development, Sarah Wiebenson at [email protected]. For more information on the program, visit: Popup Denver.

Update: Applications now closed.
Winners will be announced in early April 2022.