40% of Denver’s 16th Street Mall is under construction

Construction of the 16th Street Mall. Photo: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Three years after the pandemic decimated Due to the foot traffic in downtown Denver, many businesses in the area — and especially along the 16th Street Mall — still can’t take a break.

Driving the news: The shopping center nearly $150 million in renovations it almost started exactly a year ago remains an eyesore and in its initial phase, although on schedule.

  • 40% of the 17.5-block strip is under construction Monday, city transportation department spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn told Axios.

Why is this important: The project has significantly disrupted the area and driven customers away, with dozens of noisy diggers and smaller walkways.

State of play: Homelessness, drug use and deadly crime continue in the region despite efforts to do it safer.

  • The Target and CVS on the 16th Street Mall, for example, recently began enclosing tin foil to prevent people from stealing pieces of it to smoke fentanyl in their stores, Westword reports.

By the numbers: The 16th Street Mall welcomed around 200,000 visitors in January, well below the roughly 350,000 in January 2019, according to data from the Downtown Denver Partnership.

  • The 80202 ZIP code that covers the 16th Street Mall saw the greatest outward migration between early 2019 and October 2022, with a net loss of 1,028 businesses, according to the Denver Business Journal. reportsquoting data of the US Postal Service.

The other side: It’s not all bad news. Between canvassers, live music performers and a constant stream of people return to the officethere is still plenty of life on the 16th Street Mall.

  • Phil Turner, the founder of Tuscany Coffee at the corner of 16th and Stout, said the Denver Gazette that business is booming. “I look at the money and I can say we’re busy,” Turner said. “Things are back. Denver kicks off.”

And after: The 16th Street Mall facelift won’t be complete until at least 2024, city officials say. When complete, the revamp will create more places for people to congregate and vendors to set up shop, according to planners.

What to watch: The outcome of the revival of the city center plays a key role in the race for mayor of Denver, which will end in a runoff in June between candidates Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston.

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