Downtown Colorado Springs ended 2016 with record-setting growth of street-level businesses. From retail boutiques and restaurants to services and co-working spaces, 23 new street-level businesses opened in the city’s core in 2016, and another 12 businesses announced they will open in 2017, according to the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs.
“We are thrilled to have seen such robust growth in the past year, particularly at the street level which has significant impact on visitor experience and drives our unique character,” said Sarah Humbargar, director of business development and economic vitality for the Downtown Partnership. “There is always a balance to keeping retail spaces full; a healthy amount of turnover and new construction is what allows for growth. We have had limited new construction of retail product over the past year, with positive absorption of existing space that has led to such low vacancy rates. If recent positive absorption trends continue, and new construction doesn’t keep pace, we will not be able to bring as many new businesses to downtown. However, we expect there to be construction of new retail product coming online in the next couple of years, which should help us keep pace with the recent growth we’ve seen and hope will continue. Additionally, there are still several long-term vacancies that are now better positioned to be filled in the near term due to the limited supply.”
Humbargar said national trends indicate an increase in those who want to live and work in an urban environment, and the city is poised to take advantage of those inclinations.
“With our cost of living and proximity to the outdoors, downtown Colorado Springs is perfectly poised for this growth,” she said, adding long-established retailers’ successes, to include Terra Verde, Mountain Chalet and Sparrow Hawk Gourmet Cookware, along with eateries such as Poor Richard’s, Josh & John’s Ice Cream and Jose Muldoon’s, have attracted new businesses to the area. Several properties that have been vacant for years are now filled, with a retail vacancy of less than 4 percent, according to Humbargar.
“We’re seeing infill projects in formerly vacant lots. There are new apartments and condos under construction, and the Hilton Garden Inn is ready to break ground,” she said.
According to the Downtown Partnership, the culinary scene will expand in 2017 with additions including:
- Chef Brother Luck, who in 2016 “Beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network, will open his flagship restaurant this spring.
- Longmont brewer Oskar Blues, which recently has expanded to notable markets such as Austin, Texas and the RiNo district in Denver, will open in the former Old Chicago space at 118 N. Tejon Street in early summer. The 15,000-square-foot space leased in fewer than 6 months.
- Nationally recognized gluten-free eatery Coquette’s purchased and is renovating a new, modern space at 616 S. Tejon Street, opening in spring.
- Chef Mark Henry, who just won Food Network’s “Chopped” in December, announced he will open Rooster’s House of Ramen.
Economic growth Downtown benefits the entire community, with the one-square mile footprint providing 14 times its geographic weight in tax revenue.
Businesses new to downtown in 2016
- Bar-K (restaurant/bar)
- Bento Box Sushi (restaurant/bar)
- Blue Skies Interiors (service)
- Bonny & Read Fresh Seafood (restaurant/bar)
- Cacao Chemistry (retail)
- Cycology Spin Studio (sports/fitness)
- Eden Oaks Woodware (service)
- Hooked on Books (retail)
- Justin Burns Farmers Insurance Agency (service)
- Kids on Bikes Pedal Station (retail)
- Ladyfingers Letterpress (retail)
- Lawrence Dryhurst Gallery (art)
- Loyal Coffee (restaurant/bar)
- My Colorado Store (retail)
- Red Gravy (restaurant/bar)
- Sweetest Secret Boutique (retail)
- T-Byrds Tacos (restaurant/bar)
- Thrift Junkie (retail)
- To the Nines Barber Shop (service)
- Welcome Fellow (service)
Opening in 2017
- Art 111 Art Supply (retail)
- Bampaws Stay and Play (service)
- Brother Luck (restaurant/bar)
- The Carter Payne (restaurant/bar)
- COCO Crafted (retail/service)
- Dickie’s BBQ (restaurant/bar)
- Ducas Neapolitan (restaurant/bar)
- J.C. Bodycare (service)
- Oskar Blues (restaurant/bar)
- Redoux Consignment (retail)
- Roosters House of Ramen (restaurant/bar)