Thursday 09 May, 2013
Berkeley Park is a pleasant surprise. This Denver neighborhood north of the Highlands is a quiet, mostly residential neighborhood full of beautiful parks and quaint shops. It’s a family friendly area with a number of large parks where you don’t feel like you’re in the city at all. Berkeley Park is bordered by Federal Boulevard to the east, I-70 to the north, 38th Avenue to the south, and Sheridan Boulevard to the west.
The Closing of Elitch and Birth of a Neighborhood
Berkeley Park is the site of the old Elitch Gardens. Like many other areas of Denver, when the amusement park closed, the neighborhood didn’t decay. On the contrary, it improved and thrived. During the 1970s and 80s while the park was still open, it was a run-down neighborhood full of low rents and unsavory characters. But Berkeley Park has bloomed since the mid-90s when the park closed. It has become a different neighborhood entirely.
One of the biggest draws for the area is its parks. There are two lakes surrounded by parks as well as Rocky Mountain Lake Park, which is just south of I-70. The area boasts the William Scheitler Recreation Center with its indoor and outdoor pools, and there’s a recently-built dog park. The area is also nice because, being in the northwest corner of Denver close to I-70, it allows some of the easiest access to the mountains.
The Berkeley Park Business Community
There has been rapid commercial growth in Berkeley Park over the last twenty years. Its main business corridor is Tennyson Street, which runs from north to south. Businesses can also be found on 38th Avenue, 44th Avenue and mixed among the many residential neighborhoods.
Berkeley Park is known for its cute, quaint storefronts, vintage signs, and quiet, tree-lined streets. It has a similar feel to Old South Pearl and South Gaylord, but it’s not as polished and trendy. The hipster set hasn’t quite discovered the area yet. You’re more likely to find middle class families, retirees and aging hippies.
For businesses, there’s a friendly competition going with neighboring Highland Park, fueled in part by the fact that many mistakenly lump the two distinct neighborhoods together.
Benefits for Businesses
Most businesses in the neighborhood are locally-owned stores, eateries, coffee shops, and art galleries. There are a few large chains like Safeway but just as many old Denver icons like the Oriental Theater. There isn’t a great deal of commercial space and there are few spaces for large industrial installations. The neighborhood is ideal for small retail stores, restaurants, or startups without major space needs.
Although it feels like a small town in and of itself, Berkeley Park is just 15 minutes’ drive from downtown Denver. With major arteries I-70, Federal Boulevard, and Sheridan Boulevard forming its borders, it offers easy access by car to other parts of the city and country. It’s also not far from I-25.
Residents love their neighborhood and there are many events that allow local businesses to mingle. One is the Art Walk held the first Friday of every month on Tennyson between 38th and 48th. The Art Walk is hosted by local businesses and offers a great way to connect with the community.
Berkeley Park is a Denver neighborhood that’s slowly but steadily growing. In 2011, the city approved $2.5 million for the neighborhood for funding public works. It’s a good neighborhood for small, local, community minded businesses.