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Big changes, new development coming to Cherry Creek

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DENVER -- A deluge of cranes and construction zones symbolize the changing face of Cherry Creek. The popular shopping and dining district is undergoing major renovations.

They are some of the biggest transformations in decades, since the mall opened there in 1990.

But what will be left when the dust settles?

One of the new projects by AmCap involves a Sears store which closes March 29. What will take its place is unclear.

AmCap Vice President Michael Kaiser says a specific design might be completed in six to 10 months.

“We have been in contact with local architects to discuss several possible construction scenarios, but at this time, we have not settled on a specific design,” he writes in an email.

He also says new zoning allows his company to increase the height and density of the project.

What is clear,  at least six other new projects are already underway.

The sounds of progress now, means an infusion later of hundreds of new workers, visitors and residents to Cherry Creek.

"The amount of money we spent is staggering," says developer Matt Jobson of BMC Investments.

At 12-story "Steele Creek,”  Joblon spent $400,000 on each of the 218 luxury apartments.

But you'll pay for it, the average rent is more than $3,000 a month. The development cost $108 million.

He says some might say the views alone are worth it.

"It has a completely unencumbered view to the mountains," says Joblon.

Another 12-story apartment next door, by Zocalo Development, will have 185 rental units.

Joblon is also building “245 Columbine,” a 155-room, $70 million independent hotel where the old post office use to be on Columbine. There will also be two ground floor restaurants. That opens next spring.

"Everything around us has changed,” says Clifton Bell of the Cherry Cricket.

He’s excited about the "250 Columbine" project next door--with two seven-story buildings--one a condo, the other office space and ground floor retail. Both open later this summer.

"Supposed to be 800 to 900 people living and working right across the alley from us so that should be good for business," he said.

Another office building, "100 Saint Paul" also opens this summer. It features nearly 150,000 square feet of space and ground floor retail, and 450 parking spaces.

At Cherry Creek Mall, Restoration Hardware, now known as RH Gallery, is constructing a 52,000 square foot building, which opens in October.

The mall will also add eight to 10 new stores in late summer, taking up 38,000 square feet of space.

But what happens to the Safeway store near the mall is a big question.

The Rite Aid store connected to the grocery store  is moving in late spring to a new location in nearby Glendale. And Safeway's 15-year lease is up this year. The owners of the land say only that they are looking their options.

Big changes are coming to Cherry Creek. It's a place some say needed a fresher look.

And developers hope their creations put the cherry on top of Cherry Creek once again.

"It really is a wonderful place to be," said Joblon.

Residents have expressed concerns about the growth creating potential parking problems. But developers say they're required by the city to provide enough parking for their new residents and tenants. Some say they provide even more parking than they are required.

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