Fueled by an increase in population and job growth, Denver’s robust housing market and the constant influx of young professionals to the region has attracted some attention. Both new and existing retailers and investors are now looking to either penetrate or expand within this ever-growing market.
Metro Denver added a total of 37,300 jobs last year. This was an increase of 2.7 percent from 2011, according to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. The region’s growth rate has consistently outpaced the national rate in every decade since the 1930s. By 2020, the region’s population is expected to increase from 2.9 million today to more than 3.2 million.
Retailers are definitely taking note. Cabela’s, a Nebraska-based outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, has two stores under construction that should be completed in the third quarter of this year. These will represented Cabela’s second and third Colorado locations. The chain already has a Grand Junction outpost.
THF Realty also recently completed the 147,806-square-foot Walmart in the Lakeside Shopping Center redevelopment area. Metro Denver has seen quite a few Walmart Neighborhood Markets pop up throughout the region recently.
Also new to the Denver market is Trader Joe’s. The California-based specialty grocer plans to open two stores in Colorado, one in central Denver, the other in Boulder.
Grocery and home-goods stores have been another hot product type. Larrabee’s Furniture + Design recently opened in the south submarket, while King Soopers has undergone a significant expansion that includes the addition of a new 123,000-square-foot store at Reunion Marketplace in the northeast submarket.
During the first quarter, 20 buildings totaling 198,178 square feet were completed and another 921,219 square feet of retail space was under construction, according to CoStar’s first-quarter report on the Denver retail market. Over the past four quarters, a total of 767,590 square feet of retail space has been built in Denver, yet vacancy has dropped to 6.5 percent.
The new retailers added to Denver’s already solid market, coupled with the development of new shopping centers, have attracted the attention of both national and international investors alike.