Money Talks When Nobody Walks

Lagging foot traffic at the new Twenty Ninth Street retail development in Boulder has prompted harsh words from tenants and a lawsuit from the owners of Laudisio. The Italian restaurant that moved to the outdoor strip after mall management promised millions of patrons annually.

The development’s planners over at Macerich, the mall mega-corp that also owns Flatiron Crossing, hoped that typical mall chain stores like Champs Sports and Yankee Candle coupled with an outdoor “main street style” concept would distract Boulderites from the fact that Twenty Ninth Street is essentially a traditional indoor mall without a ceiling.

The lackluster performance might be an poor reflection of the layout, which attempts to ape pedestrian-friendly retail districts like the nearby Pearl Street Mall.

But this weekend, good ol’ Pearl Street was packed brick-to-brick with tourists, natives, buskers, loiters and businesspeople – all the things that make a true main street feel vibrant and lovable. New development to the east and west of the pedestrian mall has pushed the foot traffic even further down the strip. Maybe close enough that shoppers will even get fooled into wandering onto the faux roads of Twenty Ninth Street. – Jared Jacang Maher

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