STAN­LEY MAR­KET­PLACE SLOW­ING OPEN­ING

Aurora’s mar­ket hall is here, but its stores are rolling out slowly

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Me­gan Mitchell

Re­me­di­a­tion, con­struc­tion and ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion of the for­mer Stan­ley Avi­a­tion man­u­fac­tur­ing plant at 2501 Dal­las St. started in Au­gust 2014. Flight­line Ven­tures, the project’s first-time de­vel­op­ers, say more than 50 busi­nesses will open in­side the mar­ket hall.

On a soft open­ing day for Poppy & Pine Flow­ers Co. in the south­east cor­ner of Aurora’s Stan­ley Mar­ket­place, Karla Rehring ar­ranged stuffed an­i­mals on a dis­play in­side her lit­tle shop as con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity whizzed around the half-built shops out­side.

Rehring was still break­ing down mov­ing boxes and or­ga­niz­ing trin­kets in small bas­kets on her cashier sta­tion when her first cus­tomers, a Sta­ple­ton woman and her 12-year-old daughter, came in to pe­ruse a dis­play of can­dles at the flo­ral and gift shop.

“My busi­ness part­ner, Ni­cole, heard that (Stan­ley Mar­ket­place) was open­ing up, and she said that it would be the per­fect place for our first brick-and-mor­tar shop,” Rehring said. “It’s been a long jour­ney.”

Re­me­di­a­tion, con­struc­tion and ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion of the for­mer Stan­ley Avi­a­tion man­u­fac­tur­ing plant at 2501 Dal­las St. started in Au­gust 2014. Flight­line Ven­tures, the project’s first-time de­vel­op­ers, say more than 50 busi­nesses will open in­side the mar­ket hall. Cheluna Brew­ing poured its first pints there Dec. 1.

“The orig­i­nal vi­sion was for ev­ery­one to open at once, but it didn’t hap­pen that way, and we had to fig­ure things out,” said Mark Shaker, one of the found­ing part­ners of Flight­line Ven­tures. “It’s ac­tu­ally worked out bet­ter for us to roll things out a lit­tle at a time and re­ally get an un­der­stand­ing how peo­ple cir­cu­late through the build­ing, for ex­am­ple. We’re get­ting smarter ev­ery day.”

Un­fore­seen con­struc­tion and tim­ing hic­cups have pushed the ap­prox­i­mately $30 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ment’s open­ing dates back by months at a time since last year. Shaker en­vi­sions that all ten­ant spa­ces will be open by the end of Fe­bru­ary.

“It’s been chal­leng­ing,” Shaker said. “There’s been mo­ments where you’re able to soak some things in, in be­tween the day-to-day con­struc­tion work. But there’s also been these ex­hil­a­rat­ing mo-

ments where you see the vi­sion com­ing to life with mul­ti­ple busi­nesses. It’s ex­cit­ing.”

Bryant Palmer, spokesman for Stan­ley Mar­ket­place, said soft open­ing re­cep­tions for var­i­ous busi­nesses have been packed, night after night.

“I like to say that it’s been beau­ti­ful chaos,” Palmer said. “The last few weeks have been wild, but the big­gest thing for me is the sheer joy of see­ing ac­tual peo­ple in this space and see­ing some­thing we’ve been work­ing on for years fi­nally come to life in a way that’s open to the pub­lic. It’s been re­ally in­spir­ing and even more mo­ti­vat­ing to help ev­ery­body else get as open as these folks are.”

About 10 busi­nesses are open, in­clud­ing OPENair Academy, Cheluna Brew­ing, Co­mida Cantina, the Stan­ley Beer Hall, Sterre Den­ver and Mi­ette et Cho­co­lat, a French patis­serie with a modern twist.

“Peo­ple seem re­ally happy, and ap­pre­cia­tive and un­der­stand­ing that we’re not fully open yet,” Palmer said. “They come in, they walk through and ex­pe­ri­ence the space and see the busi­nesses and talk about what’s go­ing to go there. There’s gen­er­ally this nice de­gree of ex­cite­ment. The beer hall guys are al­ready say­ing that they have their first reg­u­lars.”

Shaker said these ini­tial cus­tomers, who are shop­ping, eat­ing and drink­ing de­spite on­go­ing con­struc­tion, are proof the neigh­bor­hood, dot­ted with va­cant store­fronts, can be re­vi­tal­ized.

The mar­ket­place will have gar­den plots on 7 acres west side of the build­ing. Al­ready, sev­eral events have been held in the mar­ket hall’s 10,000-square-foot indoor event space, and part­ner­ships are be­ing formed to keep 2017 full of ac­tiv­i­ties.

Off-Cen­ter, the pro­duc­tion branch of the Den­ver Cen­ter for Per­form­ing Arts, is pro­duc­ing a site-spe­cific show for March and April.

“We’re fig­ur­ing out the lo­gis­tics now,” Palmer said. “But it’s go­ing to be an im­mer­sive the­ater ex­pe­ri­ence where maybe 45 peo­ple at a time can buy a ticket and come in and have the ex­pe­ri­ence through the pub­lic spa­ces.”

On the north­west end of the 140,000-square-foot mar­ket hall, Danielle Van Ede was sweep­ing the floor of her women’s cloth­ing bou­tique, Sterre Den­ver. Cloth­ing from new and es­tab­lished de­sign­ers was dis­played on hand­made fur­ni­ture in the tiny Dutch-im­port shop.

“I’m from the Netherlands, and I worked for some of my friends who own stores on Larimer,” Van Ede said. “Seven years later, this op­por­tu­nity at Stan­ley popped up. I loved the con­cept and I love work­ing with Mark and Bryant and re­ally be­long­ing in a com­mu­nity of other small busi­ness own­ers, many of whom are start­ing from scratch like me.

“I got to build my own vi­sion and dream and make it ex­actly the way I want it,” she said.

Cus­tomers en­joy food and drinks at the Stan­ley Beer Hall in Aurora last week. The eatery is lo­cated at Stan­ley Mar­ket­place, 501 Dal­las St., where more than 50 busi­nesses will open by the end of Fe­bru­ary. Pho­tos by He­len H. Richard­son, The Den­ver Post

Cus­tomers last week get a sneak peek at some of the ap­parel at the Sterre Den­ver cloth­ing store dur­ing a soft open­ing at the Stan­ley Mar­ket­place.

Karla Rehring, the owner of the Poppy & Pine Flow­ers Co. in the south­east cor­ner of the Stan­ley Mar­ket­place in Aurora, or­ga­nizes some of her shelves last week.

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