Cherry Creek North’s shuttered Sears and Crate & Barrel may be demolished for 453 homes and a live-work-play community

Parking lots and big-box stores are being replaced with mixed-use developments.
5 min. read
The site of the future Clayton Lane redevelopment.
Courtesy BMC Investments

More bulldozers and cranes may soon arrive in Cherry Creek North, as the neighborhood's furious growth continues.

The abandoned Sears department store and the Crate & Barrel may be demolished to make way for a mix of 453 housing units, stores and restaurants, according to concept plans submitted to the city by Tryba Architects. The firm has been working on plans for the area even before the current owners took over.

Tryba is the mastermind of major Denver projects, including the History Colorado museum, the Union Station and Crawford Hotel renovation, and nearby Clayton Lane in Cherry Creek North.

Clayton Lane Investors currently owns the site. Invesco has contracted with real estate companies BMC Investments and Prism Places to redevelop the area.

And as the team working on it sees it, Clayton Lane is one of the few sites in Cherry Creek North still available for development.

If all goes as planned, the 4.28 acre site will include two new buildings, and three of the five structures on the land will be preserved.

The Sears building will be replaced with a nine-story high rise that would include a mix of housing and retail.

"The Crate & Barrel Building will also be demolished down to grade level, though the parking garage below will remain," noted the plans. "A new 5-story mixed-use residential building will be built above the existing below-grade parking garage in its place."

The Sears Roebuck and Company department store at 1st Avenue in Cherry Creek, 1958.
Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/X-24147

The development will include an "outdoor paseo" with shops, restaurants and bars.

"The existing Condo Building to the north will remain," according to the plans, "And its ground floor retail interiors and storefronts will be renovated."

And there will be entertainment, too.

"We have this courtyard where we're going to have live bands," said Matt Joblon, founding partner and CEO of BMC Investments. "We're going to do morning yoga. There's an outdoor bar in there with different kinds of drinks, whether it's morning or afternoon or evening."

Each year, 100 to 200 events in an outdoor area will draw in the public.

"The site plan submittal shows the maximum density the project is considering, specifically around the area where Crate & Barrel is," Joblon added in a statement. "We are still in talks with Crate & Barrel, who may remain in their space as-is, about the best options for their business long term in Cherry Creek and our plan has the flexibility to accommodate whatever that may be."

Cherry Creek has seen enormous development in recent years -- and more is yet to come.

Last year, we reported the 12.5 acre Bed, Bath and Beyond site was being eyed for a massive new development with 600-plus units.

That project, called Cherry Creek West, will include a better connection between the neighborhood and the creek itself and plenty of office space.

"We're putting the creek back in Cherry Creek," said Amy Cara, a managing partner at the project's developer, East West Partners, speaking at a public meeting.

The former Bed Bath and Beyond location at Cherry Creek West. Sept. 13, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Joblon said the Clayton Lane redevelopment will complement Cherry Creek West. While that project will have new office space, Clayton Lane will have housing where office workers can live and increase the neighborhood's capacity as a live-work-play community

Of the new units, 10% will be income-restricted. Minority-owned businesses will also receive incentives to move into the development. National brands and major restauranteurs are already expressing interest in the project.

While Downtown office buildings struggle to find tenants, the vast majority of Cherry Creek's new offices are either leased or pre-leased, said Joblon.

And companies are moving into the neighborhood from Downtown and even out of state.

"Cherry Creek is definitely the fastest growing urban environment by far," Joblon said. "It is by far the safest urban area."

And that safety, he said, is why it's become so popular.

"So what happens is you've got all the office users coming, and then more of them want to live in Cherry Creek North," he said. "And then they start going to all the restaurants and the bars. And then, you know, their spouses are coming in and shopping and spending more money. And then they're bringing their friends here and saying, 'Hey, we should go to this great place. We can walk around. It's pedestrian friendly. There's bars and restaurants and shopping, and then more people, right? So it's just the continual flywheel that's happening right now.

"And it's all because it's safe," Joblon said. "People feel safe at night here, and that's critical. You've got to protect that."

This story has been updated with a comment from Joblon about the amount of density around Crate & Barrel. 

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