The Denver Office of Economic Development has launched two new initiatives aimed at strengthening the city‚Äôs retail sector and encouraging retailers to open new outlets, expand their offerings and create jobs.
One of the initiatives is a new incentive program for retail projects, and the other one is a retail recruitment and marketing website that includes a GIS-based site selection mapping tool.
The Retail Attraction incentive program is being launched with an initial funding level of $200,000 aimed at attracting prospective retailers to Denver.
The program targets small to mid-sized retailers¬†that are new to Denver, and new store openings by retailers who already have a presence.
The focus is¬†on locally unique stores and first-in-market retailers fulfilling consumer needs that are not currently being met.
The new website (www.denverretailscene.com) showcases shopping districts and areas in Denver, along with industry news, retail trends and success stories of individuals that highlight the potential for success in Denver’s retail scene.
The portal also offers retail real estate professionals and site selectors a GIS-based mapping and data tool to help them find suitable locations for expansions and new retail outlets. The site will be updated regularly to include new retail areas throughout Denver.
Denver Economic Development Office Director Paul Washington said the combination of the website and new incentive strategy is a significant milestone of the city‚Äôs JumpStart 2014 strategic economic development plan.
‚ÄúWe now have a comprehensive, robust retail recruitment strategy and toolkit that should result in increased retail sales tax activity,‚Äù said Washington.
The new initiatives and funding reinforce Denver‚Äôs existing overall business recruitment package which includes Denver Enterprise Zone tax credits and strategic lending options, site selection assistance, and workforce development support through custom training and job fairs.
The new measures adding to these existing resources were developed after a study commissioned by the City and County of Denver last year highlighted the potential for retail sector growth, but also identified challenges such as the lack of large-site general merchandise stores and the need to reduce sales tax revenue leakage caused by city residents shopping elsewhere.
The Retail Conditions and Opportunities Study advocated for a more comprehensive retail recruitment strategy on the part of the local government, and the government is now responding with these new measures.
‚ÄúWe are delivering on the first steps under the city‚Äôs strategic retail plan to grow Denver‚Äôs retail markets by strengthening the city‚Äôs retail hubs and by bringing more opportunity to business districts throughout the city,‚Äù said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.