So far, none of the participants have chosen to make their temporary showcase permanent, but that is the ultimate goal.
“That’s our hope,” said Sarah Wiebenson, the director of economic development at the Downtown Denver Partnership and the point person for Pop-Up Denver. “Eventually they’re going to be given that runway of success, so they have time to build a customer base while not paying base rent.”
The owners have been pleased with the results, according to Wiebenson, even though it means they are not collecting rent on the real estate.
“When you have foot traffic coming and going from the pop-up, it increases visibility for rent-paying tenants next door. It also shows the durability of a space that may have been empty for a long time,” she said.
Landlords retain the option to replace the pop-up with a paying tenant if they can find one. If that happens, the Downtown Denver Partnership will work to find the business a new space, Wiebenson said.
Empty storefronts are becoming a stubborn blight on areas like the 16th Street Mall that rely on office workers for weekday traffic and business. The remote work revolution sparked by the pandemic has been great for white-collar workers who are able to cut back on their commutes and work from the comfort of a home office, but it hasn’t been great for restaurants and stores where they used. to spend their money.
The empty feeling of the 16th Street Mall creates a host of problems for businesses there. Public perception of safety in downtown Denver is becoming increasingly problematic, said Beth Moyski, a vice president at the Downtown Denver Partnership, during a recent event on homelessness hosted by the Colorado Chamber of Commerce.
“It is that person who talks to himself…. They may not have any contact with me, but when you walk past them or when they walk past you, it can make you feel uncomfortable. And so people feel insecure,” Moyski said during the panel discussion.
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