Watch a short video of Mark Sidell talking about H&M at the end of this blog.
The retail cat was already out of the bag, but that didn’t stop top economic officials, developers and politicians from roaring their excitement today for the first H&M store in the Rocky Mountain region landing in the Denver Pavilions along the 16th Street Mall.
“This is arguably the hottest, most sought after retailer on the planet,” Mark Sidell, president of Gart Properties, the owner of the Denver Pavilions said at a press conference this afternoon, just around the corner from the Niketown store that the Swedish-based H&M fashion store will replace. Niketown will be shutting its doors in mid-May, following a 12-year run as an anchor at the Pavilions dining and entertainment center.
H&M taking most of Niketown
H&M will take 21,000 square feet in the Pavilions. That will leave 7,000 square feet on the third floor, which Sidel said will be leased to an entertainment or restaurant tenant – possibly more than one.
“That’s good,” Sidell said after the press conference. “More doors always means more opportunities to draw more people to your center.”
Sidell said the “flagship” H&M store will be in the Pavilon’s “iconic building (and) will deliver the kind of retail experience people enjoy on Fifth Avenue in New York, and Union Square in San Francisco.
The new H&M store at Denver Pavilions will feature a full collections for men, women, teens and children, including cosmetics, accessories and footwear, “all at a great value.,” Sidell said.
Sidell indicated it was a retail coup to land H&M
“Since opening its first store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, more than ten years ago, H&M has continually sought out the country’s best real estate and shopping centers to locate its stores, and the Denver Pavilions is proud to be part of this group,” Sidell said.
Sidell and others confirmed at the press conference held under cloudy skies on Wednesday, what many people already knew. But neither the weather nor the knowledge that H&M was on its way, dimmed anyone’s enthusiasm. Bill Denton, the original developer of the Pavilions, who sold it to Gart Properties in 2008 for $94.5 million, for example, confirmed to InsideRealEstateNews last week that H&M was replacing Niketown, a move that he described as great for Denver and downtown.
Denton would receive no argument from Sidell.
H&M new chapter for 16th Street Mall
“This is a great day in the history of downtown and a great day in the history of the Denver Pavilions,” Sidell crowed in front an of an approving audience, which included shoppers and others walking along the 16th Street Mall, who were wondering why TV cameras were lined up at the entrance of the Pavilions and music was blaring through giant speakers. “This is a new chapter for the 16th Street Mall,” Sidell added.
Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership was as every bit as excited by H&M’s plans to open a store later this year.
“We are thrilled that H&M has selected the Denver Pavilions and Downtown Denver for its first location in the Rocky Mountain region,” Door said. She applauded Gart Properties for all of its hard work into repositioning the center. “It has clearly paid off,” she said.
The impact of H&M can’t be over-estimated, in her opinion.
Why does H&M love Denver? Let Tami count the ways.
“This H&M flagship will draw shoppers and visitors from all across the region, and strengthen downtown’s overall retail mix,” Door said. Reason’s why downtown Denver was on “H&M’s radar,” she said, include:
- More than 110,000 people work downtown every day.
- More than 55,000 student attend the Auraria campus across Speer Boulevard from the Central Business District.
- More than 64,000 residents live within a 1.5 mile radius of “where we’re standing right now.”
- Annually, downtown draws more than 12 million overnight visitors.
- The 16th Street Mall draws about 15 million people a year.
- The occupancy rate along the 16th Street Mall – Denver’s No. 1 tourist stop – hovers around 97 percent, allowing landlords such as Gart Properties to cherry pick top tiered retailers.
The experience of downtown, which includes sporting events, performing arts, and a wide-mix of retail and restaurants, she added. ”We have large-scale events. We have history. We have energy.”
Door said that today’s announcement about H&M’s arrival “continues a nation-wide trend of retailers taking note of the tremendous opportunities that can be found in urban core’s across the U.S.,” and will allow Denver and the Partnership to “leverage an opportunity like this for Downtown to help grown our retail base even further.”
H&M: Catalyst for more retail
That’s right on the money, said Brian Phetteplace, Manager of Residential and Retail Development at the Partnership.
Phetteplace said that H&M will be a magnet and a catalyst to draw other sought-after retailers to downtown. He said when a retailer is searching to expand or to enter a market, it specifically looks at decisions made by highly regarded and respected retailers such as H&M.
Bill Vidal said that the pending arrival of H&M is one of the most exciting things to happen during as tenure as Denver’s mayor, even though he joked he has no fashion sense and the only reason his clothes match is because his wife picks out his wardrobe.”The store’s growing popularity is sure to add new vitality to the 16th Street Mall, attracting shoppers form across the state and region,” Vidal said.
Richard Scharf, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, also was on hand to welcome H&M to downtown.
“Anything that brings more people and activity to downtown is great,” Scharf said. “Now, we just have to make sure they keep coming.”
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