29th St. Mall opened Oct. 13

I read about 29th St. opening on Saturday, and figured I’d give myself a tour. It’s nice. It’s purely an outdoor mall. The article I link to says that a little more than half of the stores opened on opening day. A couple more are probably open by now. As best I can tell the new Wild Oats has not opened yet. Staples was opening soon, last I heard.

The new theater is not open. They just started laying the foundation for it. It will not open until next summer. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like things got behind schedule, and they’re just opening it now, because this is when they promised everybody it would be.

Before it opened I did a little looking. Every time I’d meet a police officer and ask them how things were going. Without fail they’d get this cynical look on their face, and the tone of their voice sounded like, “This project is so messed up.” That’s how I found out when the new theater was opening. I got the same response this time.

I can remember when the northern addition was added on to the old Crossroads Mall. Just about all of the stores were there on opening day. A couple of the bigger stores probably didn’t open until later, but one definitely got the feel that the store space was filled up.

I walked around the 29th St. Mall and I think I saw all of the stores. What’s there is pretty high brow. I almost felt inadequate (financially) walking by them.

The Apple Store was neat to see, and it was buzzing with excited buyers, but I didn’t see anything too interesting (I have all the technology I need right now, thanks).

There were quite a few restaurants.

As I was walking around I passed by a couple of young women, and I overheard one of them say something like, “I’d shop here if I could afford it.” Tell me about it! They were nicely dressed, too, so you couldn’t say that they were poor homeless people. What the lady said is the truth. Unless you’re at least upper middle class you’re probably not going to buy very much from the stores that are there. Target (at the northern end of the mall), Staples (towards the southern end), and Home Depot (also at the southern end) being the exceptions.

The restaurants are nice at least. I can imagine going there with my friends from Denver when they come up to visit.

A claim that puzzled me is supposedly they specifically picked stores for 29th St. that would not compete with the Downtown Mall stores. I don’t see how this can be true, unless all of the high brow clothing stores have left the Downtown Mall. The Downtown Mall has more craft stores, but that’s the only real difference I can think of. Borders bookstore is opening on 29th St. at some point. They have a store on the Downtown Mall already. Hey guys. Uh, you sure you planned this? Not that I’m complaining really. Personally I think Boulder tries to plan (read: control) too much sometimes, especially when it comes to property issues.

I think the layout of the mall was well done. Each street on the mall transitions reasonably well into surrounding shopping areas. Travel north past Target, make a caddy-corner turn (right, then left), and you’re at Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Vitamin Cottage, or the Landmark Theater. Take the southeast exit (behind Home Depot, I think), cross 30th, and you’re at CompUSA, and King Soopers. Go out the western, Canyon exit, and you can get to Eads News and Smoke, or World Market, right across the street. Go out the northwestern exit on Walnut, and you’re at Marshalls, Circuit City, etc. The transitions are not great in a couple places at this point, but maybe the city will improve them later.

I am glad the 29th St. Mall is finally open. It couldn’t happen too soon. Looking at the Crossroads eyesore for the past 6 years has not been pleasant. This was the one physical feature of Boulder that I thought was embarrassing. According to Frank Bruno, the City Manager, the opening of 29th St. will not increase the city’s sales tax revenue this year or next year, to get it back to where it was in 2000. What I remember him saying is that sales tax revenues are expected to continue to decline into next year.

Until more stores open that appeal to me there, I won’t be visiting 29th St. too often, except to shop at Target on occasion. And I’ll continue to do some of my shopping outside of town. The selection is better and more affordable. Obviously I’m not trying to bash the new mall, but unfortunately I don’t find much there that’s appealing yet.

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