A key goal of Denver’s 1986 Downtown Area Plan was to bring retailers back to the central business district and, more specifically, development of a galleria type shopping establishment on the 16th Street Mall in upper downtown.
Following a number of failed attempts to develop a large retail project in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Entertainment Development Group (EDG) and its business partners successfully acquired land for the project. Covering two city blocks between 15th and 16th Streets and Welton Street and Tremont Place, EDG developed a 350,000-square-foot retail and entertainment complex fronting the 16th Street Mall.
The Denver Entertainment and Fashion Pavilions (Denver Pavilions) opened in 1998 with a 15-screen United Artists movie theater, 35 shops including NikeTown, Virgin Records and Barnes & Noble, and a variety of restaurants including the Hard Rock Café and Maggiano’s Little Italy. In order to function well within downtown’s dense pedestrian environment and still be accessible by car for visitors, the development utilizes the right-of-way of Glenarm Place, both above and below grade. An 800-space underground parking lot spans Welton Street to Tremont Place and second and third floor shops span Glenarm Place creating an underpass for continued flow of traffic through the center of the Pavilions. Accommodating the needs of both pedestrian and auto-oriented shoppers on the site without disrupting traffic flow downtown made for an expensive project ($105 million in 1997).
In 2008, EDG and its partners sold the Denver Pavilions to Gart Properties. Gart made a number of renovations, including improved access to retailers on the second and third floors, and significant tenant improvement associated with a phased re-tenanting of the project, which included the first H&M in Colorado. These efforts helped the Denver Pavilions to bring in many more first-to-market retailers, creating a retail destination in downtown Denver