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Vending and Sidewalk Cafés on the 16th Street Mall
The 16th Street Mall features an ever-changing mix of eclectic street food, retail vendors, sampling, special events and Sidewalk Cafés. The vending and Sidewalk Café programs, managed by the Downtown Denver BID, supports an assortment of local and national businesses.
- Determination by the Manager of Public Works that the operation will not impeded pedestrian or transit traffic.
- The requirement that operation shall meet all city and state requirement for licensing and operation.
- The requirement that sidewalk cafe permittee shall install and maintain the following elements within the sidewalk cafe area in good and attractive condition: well-designed chairs and tables, including umbrellas (of a color chosen by the permittee, but all of the same color) installed on the tables closest to the perimeter of the cafe area, a simple architectural railing around the open perimeter of the cafe area, which shall be sturdy in weight and design and capable of standing by itself and shall not be affixed to the surface of the Mall and adequate trash receptacles (of a compatible color) within the perimeter of the cafe area.
- Umbrellas shall not be required where tables are sheltered by awnings attached to building walls.
- A 10’ clearance must be maintained between the railing and curb.
- All railing bases must have a protective mat underneath.
All elements installed and maintained by the permitted shall be subject to reasonable design and maintenance review by the Mall Use Committee of the BID, which shall advise the Manager of Public Works of its recommendations.
Timing and Pricing:
The committee meets the third Thursday of each month. Within one week of the meeting, you will be notified of approval status.
The pricing for a Sidewalk Café is based on square footage and CPI. The square footage formula is:
150 square feet = $4,053.22. This is the minimum cost.
150–300 square feet = $13.51 per square foot
300 square feet + = $6.76 per square foot
Example: 250-square-foot patio will cost $5,404.22
With the number of vendors operating on the 16th Street Mall, ranging between 20 and 40 depending on season, the goal is to continue to add more quality, unique and diverse local businesses to the mix. While numerous opportunities exist, strong efforts are taken not to duplicate uses and product.
Marketplace on the Mall opportunities include Food Vending, Merchandise/Retail Sales, Experiential/Floral/Art Sales, BID-owned Kiosks and Sampling and Special Event Permits. The steps for applying and selection criteria for vending are identified below.
Food and Merchandise Vending
- Food carts and food trailers are provided by the business owner.
- Six-month (summer) and one-year terms are available.
- Maximum footprint is 5’ x 9’; nothing may be outside of this footprint including trailer hitch and coolers.
- All carts and trailers, including branding, must be approved by the BID.
- Traditional wooden pushcart applications are not being accepted (with few exceptions such as flower carts).
- Download Food Cart/Trailer Approval Process
- Examples include caricatures, portraits, henna tattoos, face painting.
- Six-month (summer) and one-year terms are available.
- Operating units are provided by the business owner, pending approval.
- Hours of operation must be consistent and posted but may be outside of standard conforming hours.
- The BID owns three enclosed kiosks; one kiosk is an Information-Customer Service Center.
- One-year terms are preferred.
- These structures are best suited for point-of-sale transactions whereby business is conducted by an employee inside the kiosk serving the customer through a service window.
Hours of Operation
Business owners and entrepreneurs who can offer great customer service and consistency are vital in growing the Marketplace on the Mall food and retail program on 16th Street Mall. For this reason, conforming hours of operation have been established for food and merchandise throughout most of the Mall. The conforming hours of operation area between Lawrence Street and Tremont Place can be viewed on the 16th Street Mall Tiers and Hours of Operation Map.
The conforming hours of operation for this area are 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Monday through Saturday from May through October and 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, November through April.
There are a limited number of blocks where flexible hours of operation are allowed. These flexible hours are as follows: Minimum of four days a week and four hours per day, requiring operation between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. per Denver Revised Municipal Code, Section 49-538. Please see the attached map. Individuals who prefer to operate a part-time vending business may be better suited for other areas of Downtown Denver where these flexible hours of operation are also in place. Learn more at City of Denver Vending.
Vending businesses may not operate between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m.
A variable rate schedule takes into consideration season, length of term and the strength of individual locations (including tier and corner locations). See 16th Street Mall Tiers and Hours of Operation Map.
Rates can range from $350-$1,000 during the summer months and $200-$600 during the winter months.
The BID receives more applications than could possibly be placed on the 16th Street Mall. Therefore, applicants must be carefully selected. The committee meets the third Thursday of each month. Within one week of the meeting, you will be notified of approval status. A committee will determine the applicants best suited for placement on the 16th Street Mall based on the needs and desires of the area within the Downtown Denver BID, including in part, the following factors:
- Product uniqueness, diversity and quality
- Commitment to program/hours of operation
- Successful business experience
- Competition/existing similar businesses on or near the Mall
- Financial resources of the business
- Reasonable likelihood of success of the business
- Sales projections
- Visual merchandising/quality of design/display
- Completeness of business plan
- Overall benefit of the business to the 16th Street Mall retail environment
- Potential detriment to the 16th Street Mall retail environment
Steps After Selection
If selected to become a vendor on the Mall, the next step is review and approval of cart/kiosk or trailer structure and design in addition to:
- Obtaining City and State Sales Tax Licenses. See Sales Tax and Business License Information..
- Food vendors only: Obtaining Stand-Up Restaurant License (and fire department approval for food carts with propane).
- Obtaining required certificate of insurance including $1 million General Liability Insurance and worker’s compensation as required by the state of Colorado. See insurance criteria.
- Copies of Articles of Incorporation or Social Security number and driver’s license/picture ID will be required if applicant is selected.
- The primary goal is to have full-time business commitment of 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Monday through Saturday for most of the Mall (weather permitting) except in specific blocks that allow flexibility.
- The BID makes no guarantees or promises in regard to potential sales or success.
- The business owner is responsible to create a successful business model, which includes marketing strategies, community outreach and social media.
- The Temporary Revocable License Agreement may be revoked with or without cause.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will I hear back?
Applicants should generally expect to receive a response within 60 days of application submission.
After notification that an application has been selected, the next step is location assignment and unit (structure), branding and display approval. Final approval is contingent upon finding an agreeable location and approval of the structure and all branding. No changes can be implemented by applicant after final approval.
If not selected:
Applications are valid only through December 31 of the year in which they are submitted. There is no waiting list. Selection is based on the specific factors listed within this document and for the time period in which it is received. Applicants may apply in subsequent years if not selected.
The attached is an APPLICATION FOR CONSIDERATION OF A TEMPORARY REVOCABLE LICENSE AGREEMENT (AGREEMENT). THE COMPLETION AND SUBMITTAL OF THIS APPLICATION AND/OR THE PAYMENT OF A FEE WITH THIS APPLICATION DOES NOT GRANT ANY RIGHTS TO THE APPLICANT AND DOES NOT GRANT, RESERVE, PRIORITIZE, ALLOCATE, PROMISE, WARRANT OR GUARANTEE THAT AN AGREEMENT MAY BE GIVEN BY THE DOWNTOWN DENVER BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (LICENSOR). THE DATE OF FILING THIS APPLICATION HAS NO SIGNIFICANCE IN WHETHER THE APPLICATION WILL BE APPROVED OR DENIED.
THE APPLICATION IS TO BE COMPLETED BY EACH INDIVIDUAL APPLICANT, A GENERAL PARTNER OF A PARTNERSHIP, AN OFFICER OR DIRECTOR OF A CORPORATION OR A MANAGING MEMBER OF A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY. INCOMPLETE OR ILLEGIBLE APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE REVIEWED OR CONSIDERED.
Acceptance of the application by Downtown Denver Business Improvement District does not constitute approval or acceptance of the applicant or proposed Licensee into the 16th Street vending program nor does it grant, reserve, obligate, license, lease, warrant or guarantee that a location on the 16th Street Pedestrian and Transit Mall will ever be approved.
Licensor reserves the right to simultaneously negotiate with other prospective applicants regardless of similarity in products. Licensor is not obligated to license a location to the Applicant unless and until such time as a License Agreement has been fully executed by both parties, the fees have been submitted in an acceptable form for the location agreed upon by both parties, and the Licensee is in continuous compliance with all applicable rules and regulations for use of the Mall.
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