Park Meadows Retail Resort opened its doors on August 30, 1996. Twenty-five years later, it’s an instrument for economic and community growth. One could argue that Park Meadows is largely responsible for sparking the commercial and residential development that has come to define the south suburbs, and there’s no one more well-versed on the subject than Senior General Manager Pam Kelly. On a rare moment when she was actually sitting still, this powerhouse of Park Meadows shared some insights with us.
What were some of the biggest challenges with creating Park Meadows back in the 90s?
Infrastructure was one of the challenges with County Line Road. It was still partially a gravel road with no exit on C-470. Yosemite was only two lanes—not to mention that in 1995 many southern areas of I-25 only had four lanes—so we knew that all had to be addressed. Another big challenge was the retail reputation and productivity of the Denver market. It was very low in national standards, although the demographics were excellent throughout the metro area; residents were spending most retail dollars out of state. We knew “if we built it, they would come.”
In 1995 there were more than 30,000 Nordstrom cardholders in the six-county metro area, and we opened Colorado’s first Nordstrom on August 30th, 1996.
What were your initial goals with the retail resort? How did you define success back then compared to today?
Park Meadows recognized early on the importance of retail being experiential. We always competed with the great outdoors and recreational activities and what people did with their spare time. But now it’s also how to shop e-commerce versus real bricks-and- mortar commerce. I recall many experts telling me we had too many restaurant seats and too many experiential stores, and yet today that is what differentiates us from the competition. We define success in many ways and the most statistical are traffic counts and sales, which have always ranked Park Meadows in the top 10 percent of shopping centers in the nation.
Can you share some of Park Meadows’ biggest accomplishments and proudest moments?
Park Meadows brought the first Nordstrom as well as Crate and Barrel to Colorado and 37 new never-been-here-before stores or restaurants to the market in our first year of operation. It is a trend we have kept doing over the years. We won the National Urban Land Institute’s 1996 award for development excellence.
This past year, Park Meadows in conjunction with—Douglas County, Lone Tree and Tri-County Health—wrote and obtained state approval to be the first and only shopping center to reopen last year with a variance to create a statewide format to open shopping centers during COVID.
Also, since our first day, we have always given back to our community through events, charities and initiatives. Throughout our 25th year, we will continue our efforts to bring more to the communities we serve.
How is Park Meadows impacting the environment regarding single-use plastic, recycling efforts, reducing carbon footprint and other environmental impacts?
Park Meadows is behind the scenes working hard to recycle and reduce our carbon footprint. In fact, our solar panels create enough energy to run all the HVAC units for Park Meadows customer areas. We also recycle most of the cardboard from shipments to our stores and are always encouraging our stores and our community to be conscious of their environmental impact.
How does Park Meadows support the community?
Over the past 25 years, Park Meadows has assisted with funding, hard-good donations and volunteer support to more than 300 charities. Overall, we’ve given north of $1,000,000 and we hope we can do more.
What has been the biggest surprise about being a part of this community?
I enjoy the fact that when we say “Colorado’s only retail resort” many customers take it personally and offer their opinion to help us. For example, one gentleman early on told me the color of our exterior signs was all wrong. As a dentist, he had also studied the psychological reaction to color so for the first 10 years he would check back with me to see when I was going to change the colors. Although we agreed to disagree on the color choice, he always brought a smile to my face. This is just one example of how the community takes ownership of Park Meadows. They fully embrace the property and take pride that it’s “their retail resort.”
How are you celebrating the 25th year?
We celebrated with our community in August with a huge pancake breakfast which was a hit with our neighbors. We also gave out 250 ponderosa pine seedlings and we’re donating $2,500 to the Colorado Tree Coalition to help replenish trees lost to Colorado wildfires. Additionally, we’re sponsoring the Lone Tree Arts Center’s 10th anniversary celebration and even donating an extra surprise check. Throughout the year, we will continue offerings prizes and special shopping experiences at our new stores.
Moving forward, how do you see Park Meadows expanding and enhancing?
Park Meadows has always been a leader in the retail real estate industry. We will continue to grow and diversify in order to provide the latest trends to enhance customer experiences.
What are the goals for the next 25 years of Park Meadows?
The goal will be what it has always been— to exceed our customer’s expectations by creating a quality retail and dining experience and build upon our foundation here in south Denver.
Anything else you want our readers to know about?
I’m just so proud to be a part of the south Denver community. It’s such a great place to do business because of the collaboration here. We’re nimble enough to create progressive infrastructure while still being a unique and close-knit community. Geographically, we’re able to reach out and impact Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch, Douglas Country, Lone Tree, Centennial and even Parker and beyond. It all makes a difference to allow everyone to thrive, which is wonderful to see.