The lease was running out on Sandra Foa's Gioia store at the Pearl

Street Mall.

Ron Werner and Jim Hering were looking to expand their HW Home store

to Denver.

And FlatIron Crossing was looking to have a little bit of Boulder's

Pearl Street in Broomfield.

"The projections for the village were very positive," Foa said, "and

so for all of those reasons, I decided I would relocate."

In 2000, Foa closed her Pearl Street location and relocated the

store to FlatIron Crossing. Her Gioia store was one of nine Boulder

retailers who set up shop in the shopping mall's 240,000-square-foot

outdoor village.

Foa eventually closed her FlatIron Crossing store and seven other

Boulder retailers at the mall did the same, some of those also ending

their runs in Boulder. Now only one — HW Home — still

operates in Broomfield and Boulder.

The village looks much different today than it did when the mall

opened. A third of the original retailers there no longer remain.

The indoor/outdoor theme was unique. In May 2000, Shopping Centers

Today noted FlatIron Crossing as one of a few "hybrid centers" that

combined an enclosed mall with a streetscape component. That concept

was the first shift in mall configuration since 1956, the magazine

said.

"It's evolving in terms of the right tenant mix to fit in that

environment," said Charles Ozaki, Broomfield's deputy city and county

manager, of the village's change.

Timing becomes an issue

The early 2000s were no cakewalk for any business, Foa said.


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"I think several things happened simultaneously — Sept. 11, the

economy in Colorado, the high-tech and telecommunications in that area

were experiencing difficulty," Foa said.

But more specifically to the village, its anchor, the 14-screen AMC

movie theater, did not open until November 2001.

"The project opened in phases," said Hugh Crawford, the mall's

manager. "It's always better to have everything open on day one. That

hasn't necessarily happened."

The village had to weather more than the region's economic troubles,

Foa said.

It had to weather the elements — from settling soils to

whipping winds to manmade machines.

The driveway between the mall and the village also created a

barrier, she said.

"You couldn't tell if you walked out of the food court. You didn't

know there's a village there," Foa said. "It didn't flow naturally from

the mall out to the village."

Things are easier to second-guess after time has passed, she

said.

"It takes time for those to build up," she said. "So some of it was

just timing and the time it takes to create something."

Time allows for change

The driveway between the interior mall and the village eventually

was blocked off to all vehicles but the valet.

The mall continues to correct walkways damaged by settling

soils.

Along with aesthetic improvements, such as lighting and signs,

various attractions — from a jumpy castle to street fairs —

were implemented.

The tenant mix also has changed.

A Brunswick Billiards store is replacing Djuna, a Denver-based

furniture store that closed in May. Iron Mountain Winery is taking over

the space formerly occupied by Weekends, a Boulder-based clothier that

tried a second store at FlatIron Crossing, only to revert back to

focusing solely on its Boulder one. SpaMedica fills what used to be

Gioia's space.

"We've concluded the outdoor village needs to be more

destination-oriented, i.e. the theater, restaurants, dining, and some

of the one-of-a-kind retailers," said David Scholl, vice president for

the Phoenix-based Westcor, which developed the mall and now is owned by

the Macerich Co.

That destination helped force a tweaking of HW Home into HW Home

Advantage — furnishings available at a more moderate price

point.

The transition of the store allows for less cannibalization of the

company's two other locations, said David Sumrak, director of sales and

marketing for HW Home, which has a third store in the Cherry Creek

North development.

"Because it is part of a mall experience, we're getting a huge

amount of younger families and the younger executives," he said.

Five years after setting up shop in the experimental village, Sumrak

said HW Home is happy with its choice.

"Yes, they're having some of the businesses leave, but by fall all

of those spaces are going to be full again," he said. "And we're still

learning, but it's been a good four-plus years since we've been at

FlatIron and we're more in tune with the area."

Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at (303) 473-1332

or wallacea@dailycamera.com.