Insights into Arvada Marketplace’s redevelopment

Arvada Marketplace
The center’s largest building – resting along its western- and southern-most boundaries – will be broken into four buildings, which will open up three new sightlines into the center’s interior and create pedestrian-friendly entertainment and outdoor eating spaces. Courtesy Farnsworth Group
Erin Bremen Executive vice president, asset management and due diligence, Pine Tree, Chicago

Erin Bremen
Executive vice president, asset management and due diligence, Pine Tree, Chicago

We acquired Arvada Marketplace, along with its neighboring shopping center Arvada Connection, in August 2015. The 301,331-square-foot shopping center is situated at the intersection of Wadsworth Boulevard, Interstate 70 and Interstate 76.

Our firm believed Arvada Marketplace was an excellent piece of real estate, but that it was completely underutilized, which presented an opportunity to revitalize the center in a way that brought in more foot traffic.

A 15-minute drive from downtown Denver, the Sam’s Club-anchored Arvada Marketplace is one of west Denver’s most convenient regional shopping centers servicing the communities of Arvada and Wheat Ridge. Located 1 mile from historic Olde Town Arvada, the marketplace rests in a retail corridor poised for significant growth, but has long suffered from dated aesthetics and an inability to keep its tenant mix in line with changing consumer habits in the age of “bricks vs. clicks” and a renewed focus on experiential retail.

Initially uninspired by the then-existing tenant mix and visual appearance of the shopping center, we came into the deal with a redevelopment plan that involved high-volume national restaurant chains that likely would draw further then just the Arvada submarket as well as a beautification plan to increase the center’s long-term vitality. Originally developed in the mid-1980s, the shopping center suffered from poor sightlines from both directions along Wadsworth Boulevard, a dated and plain appearance, and a tenant mix that neglected the center’s true regional status.

Before implementing any plans, the company took into account the multitude of infrastructure improvements and market changes planned for Arvada and the surrounding area. In addition to the Denver Regional Transportation District’s plans to expand its electric commuter rail Gold Line to Arvada in 2016 – likely spurring future development in and around Olde Town Arvada – we sought to transform the merchandising mix to cater to the area’s relatively young demographic and its anticipated growth over in the next decade. Through nearly $10 million in redevelopment and tenant repositioning, the center is well on its way to achieving that transformation.

In order to achieve these goals, the team had to get the city onboard. Working with the city of Arvada’s planning, development and zoning teams, we agreed on a vision for the center’s aesthetics, landscaping design, construction and signage that successfully reused as much of the existing structures as possible. As part of the company’s sustainable goals, LED lights were planned for the parking lots.

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“Since the project’s initial conceptualization and the resulting brainstorming sessions’ ‘vision book’ visually laying out the teams’ goals for Arvada Marketplace, we hoped to turn the shopping center into more of a destination for the community,” said Pine Tree’s Lee Pearson, executive vice president, design and construction. “The trick was to utilize existing buildings and structures while literally opening up the center to people not only to shop but to sit, browse and enjoy each other’s company. It was a big change for the center, but with the city’s help we were able to move those plans forward.”

In what constituted the bulk of Arvada Marketplace’s planned redevelopment, the center’s largest building – resting along its western- and southern-most boundaries – was slated to be broken into four individual buildings. This would not only open up three new sightlines into the center’s interior when viewed from Wadsworth Boulevard, but also would have the secondary effect of creating pedestrian-friendly entertainment and outdoor eating spaces in these newly created openings. That construction broke ground in September.

“As part of our vision for the center, we needed to open up lines of sight from the street, effectively partitioning specific buildings and effectuating the relocation of many existing tenants,” said Tim Roe, executive vice president, senior director of leasing at Pine Tree. “Communicating the reason for each tenant’s relocation, finding them comparable space within the center, and keeping them open and happily conducting business as normal during the transition were our top priorities.”

Relocating five tenants from the soon-to-be partitioned western strip of retail now referred to as the West Shops at Arvada Marketplace, we negotiated with the national and regional restaurant users we originally envisioned occupying the space. The open spaces next to the restaurants will serve some tenants as outdoor eating areas.

Arvada Marketplace soon will have various planned outdoor seating areas, sidewalks, new wayfinding signage, newly updated pylon signage, new canopies and efficient LED lighting. We are hopeful our redevelopment plans will serve to revive and renew the shopping center when finished next year.

At the time of the article’s writing, we are in negotiations with two major national retailers to repurpose the center’s existing Sports Authority box for alternative use. And in what is a commitment to the Arvada submarket and the center’s planned revitalization, Sam’s Club underwent a major renovation this summer.

The West Shops at Arvada are expected to open late spring 2017.


Featured in the November issue of Retail Properties Quarterly.

Edited by the Colorado Real Estate Journal staff.