Apr 14, 2024 - News

Denver's Cherry Creek neighborhood is crushing it as downtown faces tough times

Outside the Cherry Creek Shopping Center in 2016. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

As downtown Denver's struggles persist — from high office vacancies and low foot traffic to seemingly never-ending construction — Cherry Creek just 4 miles south is thriving.

The big picture: The affluent area appears to be capitalizing on downtown's lackluster demand, as it puts new tenants into office buildings and attracts more people with fresh restaurants, bars and hotels.

What they're saying: "Cherry Creek has positioned itself as one of the top markets in the U.S.," with 99% of construction leased before it delivers, JLL Capital Markets' senior director Hilary Barnett told the Denver Post.

  • "The why is one simple reason and it is safety," Matt Joblon, founding partner and CEO of BMC Investments, added. "There is no crime here and there is no homelessness."

State of play: The neighborhood's office vacancy hovers around 8.5%, compared to nearly a third of downtown office space that's sitting empty, per the Post. Even its mall is flourishing, unlike many others nationwide.

  • Meanwhile, major development projects are in the works, including four office buildings currently under construction and another 16 projects recently announced, according to Cherry Creek Alliance's latest report.
  • Among those recently announced is Cherry Creek West, a $1 billion facelift expected to transform 13 acres into a "people-centric neighborhood that embraces the creek."

By the numbers: Office and retail space in the Cherry Creek area amount to about 5.53 million square feet, about 5% of the total office and retail square footage in the city, according to Cherry Creek Alliance data.

  • Another 800,000 square feet of office and retail space are slated to come online in the next three years.

Zoom in: Some of the latest restaurant and bar additions include Mediterranean restaurant Kini's; Ay Papi, a Latin-inspired, rum-centric cocktail bar; and Rare Bird, a rooftop bar atop the Halcyon hotel.

What we're watching: Several restaurants are opening this year in the neighborhood, including Uchiko Cherry Creek — the upcoming sister concept to Uchi in RiNo — and Le Colonial, a famed Vietnamese and French fusion restaurant chain with New York roots.

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