Four Cherry Creek groups representing more than 1,000 businesses have teamed up to form the Cherry Creek Alliance to better address business support, economic development and policy issues in the east Denver neighborhood.
Cherry Creek North, the Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce, the Cherry Creek Leadership Council, formerly known as the Cherry Creek Business Alliance, and the Cherry Creek Shopping Center are seeking to present a unified front, a smaller-scale version of what the Downtown Denver Partnership does on behalf of downtown Denver businesses.
“We certainly look at the partnership as a model, but we won’t be the DDP,” said Nick LeMasters, president and CEO of Cherry Creek North. “We felt we needed to have a voice and a unified voice.”
Despite attracting 15 million visitors a year, hosting 17,000 jobs and providing Denver with $57 million in tax revenues, there is a sense within the neighborhood that it gets overlooked, LeMasters said.
Transportation access offers one example. There is no light rail service in the area and more broadly, the neighborhood is a doughnut hole when it comes to transit services, LeMasters said.
“We need to find new and creative ways to get employees here,” he said.
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The Alliance will represent a wider swath of Cherry Creek, stretching from 6th Avenue on the north down to Cherry Creek Drive North and between Colorado and University boulevards. The area is known for its independent and high-end retailers, financial services employers and pricey homes. Like many areas, it faces a tension between redeveloping to accommodate more growth while retaining its distinct feel.
The area continues to experience strong demand for office, retail and residential space, so facilitating “well-thought-out” development will be a priority for the group, he said.
Cherry Creek West, a $1 billion mixed-use development project by East West Partners is the largest on the drawing board. BMC Investments last month started on a 100,000 square foot office and retail space at 255 Filmore St. that is set to open in fall 2023. There are also plans to add another 215,000 square feet of office and retail space at 252 Clayton St., according to the Alliance.
The namesake Cherry Creek and its accompanying trail, which is heavily used by pedestrians and bicyclists, are both in need of restoration, which if done right could further enhance the area, LeMasters said.