STANLEY MARKETPLACE SLOWING OPENING
Aurora’s market hall is here, but its stores are rolling out slowly
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.