Urban grocery shoppers rejoice! In two years, Denver will finally boast a full-service grocery store in the heart of downtown. The mixed-use project, first reported by the DenverInfill blog, will be located at 20th Street and Chestnut Place, two blocks from Union Station, and will be helmed by the Nichols Partnership, the developers behind the Spire. Only one question remains: What grocery store will we get?
The project, currently named "20th and Chestnut," was first proposed four years ago when the Nichols Partnership bought the land in the Union Station district. Excitement over the development faded, however, as the financial meltdown and other factors kept the project stalled. Now, however, "we are ready to go," reports Nichols Partnership Project Manager Dan Schuetz.
That means Nichols, in partnership with Loftus Developments and the Mulhern Group, is moving full steam ahead on a 42,000-square foot urban grocer at the corner of 20th and Chestnut, along with several other retail stores along Chestnut and 300 or so apartments in a five-story building above it. Shovels will hit the dirt in December 2011, and the store will be open for business in 2013. Eventually, there will also be a twelve-story mixed-use tower on the block -- and yes, in case you're wondering, there will also be a 100-car parking lot on site for shoppers.
"We are responding to market demand," says Schuetz. "There is definitely a demand from downtown residents and others for a grocery store, and there is also a demand for rental housing." Even better, points out Schuetz, is the fact that the Urban Station transit hub will be two blocks away -- meaning folks all over the metro area should be able to access the grocer without bothering with their car.
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So, what grocery store will fill the space? For now, Schuetz is keeping mum. "You certainly will be familiar with this national brand, but I wouldn't even hint as to which of the brands it will be. It's too early to do that," he says. "I think everybody will be pleased with the grocer that will be down there. There will be something for everybody."
In other words, does Schuetz mean "Trader Joe's"? If not, he should be prepared for the horde of torch- and pitchfork-wielding grocery snobs that will be storming his way.
More from our Business archive: "IKEA's Centennial store grand opening date moved from fall to July 27: Efficient!" Follow Joel Warner on Twitter @joelmwarner