The land just west of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center is in store for a major makeover.
East West Partners, a longtime Colorado developer whose projects include Denver’s Riverfront Park and the redevelopment of the Union Station neighborhood in Lower Downtown, said Thursday that it is launching “a transformative redevelopment” of the site over the next several years.
The Buell Foundation and Taubman Realty Group, the owners of the land and the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, are key collaborators and will be involved in the planning, East West Partners said Thursday.
The project, called Cherry Creek West, will stretch from University Boulevard on the west to Clayton Street and from First Avenue on the north to the Cherry Creek waterway.
Amy Cara, managing partner of East West Partners, said the goal is to create a neighborhood that includes living and work spaces while connecting the Cherry Creek area to its namesake, the creek that runs along the southside of the property.
“This is a site we’ve had a lot of interest in because it’s really the gateway to Cherry Creek,” Cara said.
The west side of the area, however, “wasn’t meeting the potential of the rest of what Cherry Creek can be,” Cara added.
The 1.03-million-square-foot shopping center has roughly 160 stores and 40 eateries. Stores include Nordstrom, Macy’s, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus and The North Face. The 13-acre west portion of the property consists of parking lots and mostly vacant buildings.
While the planning is in the early stages, East West Partners’ vision is to create a place where people can live, work and spend time.
“We intend to have significant residential (space) there, significant office there. It’s possible there could be a hotel. It’s possible there could be senior living,” Cara said. “We will have some retail there, but it’s not designed to be competitive with what’s in the shopping center or what’s in Cherry Creek North, but instead to be additive.”
Plans include creating a green, open space with a public amphitheater that connects the Cherry Creek North retail area and the shopping center to the creek. Cara said a rough estimate of the project’s value is $1 billion. The first phase of work could be completed in about five years.
Cara said East West Partners has been talking to Taubman about the proposal since 2015 and in earnest with both Taubman and the Buell Foundation since 2019. She expects the city to begin its detailed review of the plan and new zoning for the property in early December.
“We have been considering the redevelopment of this site for many years now. The Cherry Creek West project aligns with our long-term goals of integrating the mall and the west end property further into the fabric of the community,” Bill Salliotte, director of development for Taubman, said in an email.
East West Partners will lease the land from the Buell Foundation. The project will be “a wonderful addition to the Denver market” and generate significant value for the foundation and its mission to support early childhood health, education and development, Tom McGonagle, a foundation board member, said in a statement.
East West Partners said it will reach out to the community and provide information on a website, CherryCreekWest.com. Cara said the firm will seek input from residents and business leaders and use the website to post updates and links to the city’s meetings and decisions.
And Cara said the developers will work with their traffic engineers and the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to minimize the impacts from traffic and construction.
East West Partners is working with Denver-based Design Workshop and Gensler, a design and architecture firm, on the plan.
The late Temple Buell, a nationally known architect and Denver resident, designed and developed the original Cherry Creek shopping center, one of the country’s first major malls.
When the renovated shopping center opened in 1990, some people predicted a mall focused on fashion and luxury items would fail in Denver, William Taubman, chief operating officer of his family’s company, told The Denver Post in a 2018 interview. At the time, Bed, Bath & Beyond had recently left its location on the west side of the shopping center.
“That is part of a larger program for us to understand really what we want to do with the entire west end (of the shopping center),” Taubman said during the interview. “I think there is an opportunity to densify the west end. We need to understand what that means right now.”
In 2020, Simon Property Group, the largest mall operator in the U.S., struck a $3.6 billion deal for an 80% interest in Taubman Centers Inc.