The historic 1909 Stadium Building as Denver’s first public food market.

The Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center and the National Western Center Authority have proposed that funding for rehabilitation of the 1909 Stadium Building and a new arena be included in the 2021 Denver GO Bond. Read on to learn what’s proposed. 

ABOUT THE PROJECT

  • Rehabilitation of a beloved local landmark 
  • Opens the door for healthy, fresh foods in a food desert  
  • Construction jobs, making way for hundreds of small business opportunities   
  • Envisioned in the 2015 National Western Center Master Plan, but not funded 
  • Fact sheets: Public Market (PDF)  |  El Mercado Público de Denver (PDF)

The building was built in 1909 and is a Denver historic landmark.

REHABILITATION OF A HISTORIC LANDMARK 

To prep the building for becoming Denver’s first true public food market, a rehabilitation project will address necessary repairs, and maximize retail square footage and public-facing elements, while retaining the building’s character.  

Left: The building today (Google Earth). Right: A rendering of how it would look after rehabilitation.

COMMUNITY HEALTH  

This project will set the stage for a vibrant hub of local, fresh, healthful and affordable food. In response to community wishes, a market of this kind would serve the daily shopping needs in Globeville and Elyria-Swansea (GES) for the first time in generations.  

A future public market would showcase local Colorado products and food entrepreneurs.

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY 

The project would generate a variety of jobs immediately, laying the groundwork for future economic opportunities.  

In the future, the historic space would be filled with a diverse mix of owner-operated stalls, shops and restaurants, featuring fresh food and other craft retail. With a focus on showcasing local products, the market will serve as a vital economic pathway for Colorado’s agriculture industry and local food entrepreneurs. Its popularity among locals and tourists will drive the economy in GES and Denver as a whole.  

A TRAVEL DESTINATION 

Modeled after public food markets around the country and the world, but with a uniquely Colorado character, the market would become a tourism destination for the fast-growing food travel segment — and anyone who loves Colorado! 

PARTNERSHIP AND COMMITMENTS 

The National Western Center and the partners (City and County of Denver, the National Western Stock Show and the CSU System), are committed to the full vision of the campus. Rehabilitating the 1909 Stadium Building is a major step toward its completion. Funding this project will create a modern community and cultural asset, create jobs, and deliver on the promise of the National Western Center.  

*This project prepares the building for a market but does not include funding for the market itself. 

 

FAQ

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Isn’t the National Western Center project already funded?

In 2015, Denver voters approved ballot measure 2C to fund construction of the first phases of the campus, underway now. Later phases on the southeast side of the campus, which include the future public market, have always been contingent upon the availability and timing of future funds. 

The public market and other public assets were to be built as part of a public-private partnership (P3), for which procurement had begun in 2019 and 2020. However, as a result of COVID-19, the city cancelled the procurement. Tourism tax revenues would have been used to support the P3, but those revenues are not expected to overperform at pre-pandemic levels for years to come; therefore, City and County of Denver officials felt timing was inappropriate to commit the city’s general fund dollars to this delivery method.  

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What role does the public market play on the broader National Western Center campus?

The National Western Center’s vision is to be the global destination for agricultural heritage and innovation. A public market showcasing local products and producers will help us tell the story of Colorado’s own agricultural heritage and innovation, while driving visitors to the campus on a daily basis. 

There is no better place than the National Western Center for a public food market akin to others across the country and the world. Think Granville Market, Reading Terminal Market, or Findlay Market — with a distinctively Colorado character!  

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What benefits can neighbors in Globeville and Elyria-Swansea (GES) expect from the public market?

Over many years of neighborhood and campus planning, residents of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea (GES) have expressed the need for a market for local, fresh, healthful and affordable food.  

The rehabilitation project would generate a variety of small business opportunities and workforce development jobs immediately, including specifically training and hiring for those in our under-resourced communities. 

The project opens the door to small-business opportunities for local food entrepreneurs, artisans and more. 

The market would become a destination in itself, helping to drive the economy in GES and Denver as a whole.  

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Is this project shovel-ready?

An historic structure assessment, economic feasibility plan, public market advisory working group and infrastructure master plan are complete. Concurrent site work is underway. Design and rehabilitation work could begin relatively quickly.

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How does it contribute to Denver's recovery?

Funding this project aligns with Denver’s broader economic recovery strategy following the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and addresses many of the 2021 Rise Denver GO Bond priorities.  

  • Bring back and enhance lost jobs. Create jobs. Creates short-term construction jobs and paves the way for long-term operations jobs.  
  • Strengthen small-business and nonprofit growth and resiliency. Opens the door to small business opportunities and workforce development opportunities — specifically training and hiring for those in our under-resourced communities here in Denver. 
  • Revitalize Denver’s neighborhoods through targeted community support. In addition to creating jobs, the future public market will introduce healthful, fresh, affordable food in a food desert.  
  • Accelerate public investment. The public market and the arena, working together, will further the mission and vision of the publicly-funded campus in an economically sustainable way. 
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Has the market’s feasibility been studied?

Yes. View the relevant documents here: 

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