As recently as a week ago, Trader Joe’s wouldn’t confirm that they were coming to Denver. Was it a no, or just a no comment? Why now have they come out? We suspect they were tired of being dragged thru the muck of the Fuqua/Walmart
story, and by announcing, they separated and removed themselves from the discussion and speculation.
Trader Joe’s had filed plans with the city for design approval. Trader Joe’s has confirmed that they will use their one liquor license for the 8th and Colorado location and not boulder. The liquor portion will be separate, as they cannot have it as part of the main store unless there is a pharmacy as well.
From the ashes of a planned Residence Inn to the fury of one of Denver’s most coveted commercial districts.
“Trader Joe’s officials liked the site because Colorado Boulevard is one of the hottest retail districts in metro Denver, and the site puts the grocer in close proximity to the neighborhoods of Congress Park, Hilltop, Cherry Creek and Mayfair.” wrote Dennis Huspeni, who quoted Jimmy Balafas, principal of Kentro Group of Denver, said of the East Eighth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard corner.
The site was a long-time home to a Denver institution: Annie’s cafe, a video rental store, liquor store, printer, and two apartment buildings. During the boom euphoria of the middle of the last decade, the site was combined and re-zoned for a 160 room Residence Inn by Marriott; the neighborhood was in favor, plans were drawn, but the big money guys from the downtown Ritz debacle couldn’t get the project to the finish line after they had already torn down the existing buildings and sent the existing businesses on their merry way.
While the economy and local real estate tanked, what was once a neighborhood jewel, sat vacant and became part of the area’s growing urban blight. Annie’s cafe moved to new digs on Colfax and didn’t miss a beat. While the corner sat vacant longer than many would like, an old real estate adage held true… location, location, location.
Trader Joe’s, long desired by the populace in Denver, saw the value in the vacant parcel and quietly made their move. The re-zoning of the site in May was practically an administrative decision. The white knight of Trader Joe’s is so highly regarded, no one would stand in its way, not to mention, no one asked for public funding or tax credits…. They were bold! They knew! If they build it, the faithful masses will come, and come they will!
While TJ’s preferred to maintain under-the-radar during this process, they couldn’t help but go public as the 9th & Colorado Fuqua Development group was using the luster of a potential Trader Joe’s to mitigate the Walmart stigma… Trader Joe’s clearly has had enough of that, and separated themselves from the fray by going public, leaving Fuqua and Walmart to fight their battle without the gleam of a Trader Joe’s as bait.