There are plenty of vacant storefronts in downtown Denver. The city – and its boosters – is offering free rent to some companies that venture there

There are plenty of vacant storefronts in downtown Denver.  The city – and its boosters – is offering free rent to some companies that venture there


So far, none of the participants have chosen to make their temporary storefront permanent, but that is the ultimate goal.

“That’s our hope,” said Sarah Wibson, director of economic development at Downtown Denver Partnership and lead character on Pop-Up Denver. “Eventually they will be given that path to success, and have time to build a client base by not paying base rent.”

Landlords were happy with the results, according to Wiebenson, even though it means they don’t charge rent on the properties.

“When you have pedestrian traffic coming and going from the pop-up it increases the visibility of the tenants paying the rent next door. It also shows the viability of a space that may have been empty for a long time.”

20220914-DENVER-MALL-BUSINESS-POPUPHart Van Denburg / CPR News
Pedestrians pass paper-covered windows in an empty retail space at the 16th Street Mall in Denver, Wednesday, September 14, 2022.
20220914-DENVER-MALL-BUSINESS-POPUPHart Van Denburg / CPR News
A Denver police motorcycle is parked at the 16th Street Mall in Denver, Wednesday, September 14, 2022, next to a storefront for rent under the Denver Pop-Up Program.

Landlords reserve the option to replace the popup with a paying tenant if they can find it. If that happens, the Downtown Denver partnership will create new space for the company, Wibson said.

Empty storefronts have become an incurable pest in areas like the 16th Street Mall that depend on office workers for foot traffic and business during the week. The remote work revolution that the pandemic started has been great for white-collar workers able to cut their commute and work in the comfort of a home office, but it hasn’t been great for the restaurants and stores they’re used to. to spend their money.

The hollow feel of the 16th Street Mall creates a host of problems for businesses there. The public perception of safety in downtown Denver is becoming increasingly problematic, said Beth Moeskey, vice president at Downtown Denver Partnership. During a talk about homelessness Hosted by the Colorado Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s that person who talks to himself…. They may not have any contact with me at all, but when you walk next to them or when they pass you, it can make you feel uncomfortable. This is what people feel insecure about,” Moisky said during the panel discussion. “.



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