How Can Commerce City Attract More Retail Business???

A panel of experts came to Commerce City to give advice and answer questions about how Commerce City can attract more retail business.

History was made with this first ever expert retail panel event at the Commerce City Civic Center. There was only really one item on the agenda: How can Commerce City attract more retail business???

This event was put on under the direction of the Commerce City Economic Development Director Brittany Morris, and the Commerce City Business and Professional Association.

So, what did the expert panel say?!?!?!

Right off the bat, the panel hit us with a topic of discussion that, depending on who you are talking to, is very politically incorrect. The topic is that Commerce City is, at least on a retail outlook, “a tale of two cities”. The northern range is in a different stage of development than Commerce City’s more established blue collar, industrial historic area. With that being said, you can get into trouble by this generalization.

Take for example, the area around the newly developed Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. This area by all accounts is no different then the areas in the northern range. Both ends of Commerce City are still struggling with tax dollars leaking into the Denver Stapleton area, and the Prairie Center, as well the soon to be Adams Crossing areas of the city of Brighton.

The fact that you have to drive to Brighton or Denver to go to a Dick’s Sporting Goods retail store, when the Dick’s Sporting Goods Stadium is in Commerce City is a hard pill to swallow.

So, how does Commerce City attract more business? Is there a model we can look at? Should we temporarily lower the mill levy in the northern GID?

The answer was surprisingly simple…

When asking a question about business, expect an answer to be all business. It comes down to basic math and pre-defined formulas. Bottom line is traffic and rooftops, and you need a lot of them. For example, to get a certain type of grocery store, the magic number is around a population of 15,000  in a square mile. Plus, it will help tremendously within that population of 15,000, at least 30% of them would have at least a Bachelors degree.

But wait a minute, doesn’t Commerce City have a soccer stadium that holds 18,000 people, and if you only need apopulation of 15,000, why isn’t retail development just pouring in? Good question, at least I thought so.

Once again, this all comes back down to a pre-defined business paradigm. Retailers need predictable and permanent daytime traffic and resident consumers. Not just those who visit the city during the summer for Rapid games and the Mile High Music Festival, which by the way is August 14th and 15th.

As far as incentives, according to the panel, Commerce City needs to be careful and know exactly where these incentives are really coming from and who they are impacting. But, the panel’s general consensus was that incentives are particularly important and can actually bring a dying deal back to life.

What about lowering leases to attract retail business? For this we go back to the basic math. Bottom line, if it takes $200 a square foot to build it, the lease needs to be around 10%, that’s $20 per square foot to lease it.

So what is the city doing right? The panel reported that Commerce City is doing a good job by keeping the business community informed and educated about what is happening in the city.

In the end, this is not an easy topic to tackle and that is why we want to hear from you. We know the Gateway News readers come from all walks of life and we want to hear all of your opinions about what Commerce City can do to attract more retail business?

Some important facts learned from the meeting:
Wal-Mart in the northern range is still on track. A grass roots effort of the first grocery store in the north is still in the works called “The Mustard Seed”. An update of the development of the Prairie Gateway should be presented to city council in May or June of this year.


Gateway News said...

The Panel Included:
Existing Commerce City retailer: David Moroney, 7-Eleven

Grocer: Kim Sims, Sunflower Farmers Market

Commercial real estate broker: Matthew DeBartolomeis, CB Richard Ellis

Developer: John Kilrow, Shea Properties

Lender: Dale Algrim, Colorado Business Bank

Developer/Site Selector: Britt Nelson, New City Development

Moderator: Mark Goldberg, Goldberg Properties

PRO CITY said...

I was so curious on how the gateway was going to write this up. I am surprised it is pretty straight forward and to the point.

I want everyone to know, the city can not force business to come to the city. they can only try to attract them, that's it.

Looks like the city is doing everything right. Great Job city staff and just stay on the right path.


I am with the group that thinks the city should be thought of and handled in every aspect as ONE CITY. Divided we will fail. This is even true when it comes to retail too.

Anonymous said...

I thought 7-11 closed on Quebec.

Gateway News said...

yes, but there is a 7-11 in the northern range that is reportedly doing very well.

PRO CITY said...

city needs to market itself. it would help if we had positive media coverage.

Thad said...

How can Commerce City get more retail business?

easy, change the name!

Tom Bradley, n. range, commerce city said...

I would say the city is doing everything it can. This is illustrated by this article. A meeting with a panel to get advice and ask questions is brilliant.

Core Comments said...

commerce city should do what has been successful in the past. concentrate on industry. everyone may not like it, but it pays the bills

Anonymous said...

comment about dicks sporting goods retail not in commerce city is great. I never really thought of that until now.

great catch!

Anonymous said...

umm how come brighton seems to be able to do what commerce city cannot do? maybe they hired people who know how to do the job and commerce city did not? why can't commerce city go talk to brighton and ask how they are so successful attracting retail and sustaining it?

Anonymous said...

Telling the truth is NOT negative, it is positive. Lying to the citizens is negative. Stealing from the citizens is negative. Positive is what will happen when we get rid of the current council, mayor and city staff and get some honest people the citizens can trust to do the jobs professionally. Not just a lot of talk and spend on their own cars and salaries and trips.

Nancy said...

we missed our opportunity with nascar. now we have to play catch up with brighton, thornton, and denver

Chad Askins, Commerce City Resident Brighton Shopper said...

We need to HIRE a consultant for this type of a question, one of those really expensive ones that tells us what we already know.

Ryland, Reunion Resident said...

I thought the city was suppose to do a comparison of fees and charges with the surrounding cities to see where we stand?

What ever happened with that idea?

roger said...

Glad to hear that Walmart in still on. I do think that this might either go 2 ways, either, it will scare off or act as an anchor

Zeek said...


It is all about access! The 60th area down in the core is unreal and dangerous.

You need to make it easy for people to get in and out.

that is the real key!

Anonymous said...

We should really concentrate retail effort in the north and take advantage of the e-470 corridor. Once the Reunion Wal-Mart build out is complete that will bring additional retail and restaurants to Reunion and along 104th.
I think we should continue to look for blue collar industrial type business in the south. It’s a proven winner with easy access to all hwys. Who would they attract with retail in the south? The predominate language is spanish in that area so we won’t win over the shoppers from Northfield or Stapleton. Isn’t NASCAR on the verge of bankruptcy? We should very happy we didn’t go down that road.
C_City Voter

Derrick Keys, Commerce City Resident, Brighton Tax Payer said...

yes nascar is not doing too well. Even if the city was able to bring them in, I think we never would have seen it actually come to reality.

Gateway News said...

The Gateway News reported it would take 15,000 "rooftops" to bring in a certain grocery store. This is NOT the correct information. The correct information is a "population" of 15,000.

the article has been changed and will be correct in the printed edition.

We apologize for the misinformation.

Dustin McIntyre, Gateway News

Anonymous said...

YOU HAD IT RIGHT! I was there, she said ROOFTOPS, you even verified when you asked your question.

Don't let them change your article!

Gateway News said...

It was after the meeting, I was told by Brittany Morris that the panelist misspoke.

It was 15,000 pop. NOT 15,000 rooftops.

Dustin McIntyre, Gateway News

Anonymous said...

wait a minute, your telling me the "expert" does not know the difference between "rooftops" and "people"


Anonymous said...

there will never be any more positive media coverage until the city council and city staff admit their mistakes and CORRECT them. at least when perry vandeventer was driving a city vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the city council then said, enough and made him resign. the current city council needs to step up and fire flannery and get the citizens their money back and hire somebody who is qualified. news flash, three years flannery has been here and nothing has happeneded except his bank account got bigger at our expense.

Anonymous for many reasons said...

some of the city staff was really upset about you publishing roof tops instead of population.

Not Impreseed, River Run said...

It doesn't matter if Gateway reported 15,0000000. We ain't getting a store! that is the bottom line.

Connie K. said...

city needs to embrace the idea of ONE city. We can not predefine the city as to where something might go. We need to grow, it might be okay now, but if just one business like SUNCOR moves out, we are going to be in big trouble.

Erin NW said...

I was excited when I first saw the advertisement on the gateway news websites. I thought there was going to be an announcement of the northern range getting a sunflower market.

But, maybe someday.

Anonymous said...

good stuff,
access is very important. Another topic for the meeting was the old dog track. Panel says it might have to be mixed use and once again access to the area needs to be improved.

love this site, learning a lot.

Derrick Keys, Commerce City Resident, Brighton Tax Payer said...

city staff really upset over Dustin McIntyre reporting roof tops instead of people? I guess emotions are running a little high in the city hall.

Anonymous said...

I applaud the city and ccpba for this event.

I would like to see some of the panel from people like SW Investments, Gateway America, Hanson Group.

KD, Reunion said...

For more information about the Commerce City Business and Professional Association please copy and paste into your browser.

or, click on the link on the bottom the the Gateway Way News Main Website at

Anonymous said...

To Ryland reference the fee report.
It was given to council several weeks back.
Most of CC fees were in the middle of the other cities.

Anonymous said...

Explain to me why should someone be fired for taking an excellant contract??
What did Fannery do wrong to accept a great contract??
If you were offered a great car deal, house deal, advertising deal, raise or compensation package, you are going to tell me you'd refuse it?? Or if taken you should be fired??
Come on and be honest.
Most of you are there are hypocrits big time!!

Ryland, Reunion Resident said...

I did not know that. thank you! Gateway can you ask for these fees.

You learn something everyday on this blog.

A Friend of the City said...

One thing everyone might need to know. The area around the Stadium is controlled by Kroenke (KSE). They also had control of the Prairie Center in the city of Brighton. KSE developed the area in Brighton first, unfortunately, it was during the high times of retail.

It is what it is, but we will be okay. There are already signs up to at least say that the area around the stadium is open for business.

Brandon, BDGD said...

Honestly, this may sound strange, but the first step to making a area better would be to blight the area. The council did this for the Derby area. Don't get all mad until you really understand what it means.

Blighting an area opens the doors to funding. It is a very SMART thing do.

I would suggest that the commerce city council use Blighting, but in a sparring, intelligent way. I would start with the area of the Dog track.

Anonymous for many reasons said...

certain city staff upset that gateway wrote wrong information about the roof tops instead on population.

Dustin McIntyre, Gateway News said...

I had a phone conversation with Commerce City ED Director Brittany Morris.

I apologized and quickly corrected the article.

I don't know what more I could have done to remedy the issue.

Dustin McIntyre, Gateway News

Anonymous said...

fire flannery unless someone can point out one thing he has done to make our city better and if they don't fire him then make him get a mortgage now and pay the $72,000 back. change the contract AGAIN to reflect this, God knows its been changed several times to suit Flannery. NOW its time to change the contract to suit the taxpayers.

Jeffery Fricks, Denver said...

I am a little surprised the area around the stadium has not developed a little.

I do see at least something coming soon. It may only be some fast food joints, but it will have a little spark.

The problem is the Stapleton area. You will not see any of those business around the stadium.

neleen said...

Market the city in a positive way. Avoid negative press if possible.

Gateway News said...

Taco Star replacing Good Times in the Commerce City "Fast Food Times Square" 60th Avenue.

Cyrus, River Run said...

I know for a fact that one of the council norms use to be criticize in private, and praise in public.

I don't see how is this accomplished by going on TV as Benson did.

I was there and said...

the city has no right to get so mad at McIntyre, he was only media that covered this waste of a time event.

Further, he promoted the hell out of it with ads on their website and I am pretty sure that the city was too cheap to pay for any of it, so McIntyre did it for free.

Sorry Dustin!

DLH Limited, Colorado said...

Easy, market yourself!

Site selection needs to have everything a business needs, access to highways, lots of traffic, easy business-city relationship, and lastly, some kind of tax incentive.

Have all this in place and business will come.

Darren C ; Commerce City said...

Something that should be talked about is city image.

It needs to be addressed within first, then addressed as other people see you guys.

At the moment Commerce City is not a really bright shining star.

But that will pass, then the city can get back on track

Another Friend of Commerce City said...


Commerce City needs to own and control its water.

With water, you can control your business destiny.

Robby said...

Brighton has obtained the retail it has because they advertised successfully that the Northern Range is a part of Brighton. Not that Pavilions or Prairie Gateway have been very successful... The former is dying rapidly.

David said...

One of the best ways to attract more retail business is to have existing businesses thrive and succeed. Use existing restaurants, vets, liquor stores, dentists, gas stations, starbucks, etc.

One sure fire way to discourage new business from coming in is to see businesses failed and shuttered.

Having a track record of success (no pun intended) shows retailers that an area is viable for other business. If you are new to commerce city and still have a dentist, or doctor, or daycare, or vet in another area, it may be time to change.

Make these people successful and they will spread the word.

neleen said...

Okay this is exactly what I meant by not letting negative press dominate the air ways

Bruce, Commerce City said...

I only know one thing for sure that this guy did.

It was under the direction of city council, but it is at least something I can see!

Unitas said...

When all said and done, at least we know that a bunch of people still have a bad image about Commerce City.

Live web chat last night got pretty bad bashing commerce city. also some comments out there are pretty bad.

Bernard, J. Commerce City said...


I hope at least some of the council or staff saw what happened last night.

A LOT of Commerce city is BAD and Not a god place to live said by many.

I would go as far to say this, the city image should be one of the top priorities of Commerce City Council.

Anonymous said...

anyone know where to find the chat records?

Dustin McIntyre, Gateway News said...

Live Chat Records for Channel 9?

Anonymous said...

Commerce City will never attract anything unless we elect new people to mayor and council that are honest, ethical, professional, educated, and have integrity.