DENVER — Free parking for the first hour at Cherry Creek Shopping Center will soon be a thing of the past.

"We're restructuring parking rates to be more in-line with the market rates," said General Manager Jeramy Burkinshaw.

As of Jan. 21, mall visitors will be charged $2 for the first two hours, a change noted on the mall website.

"So, as the Cherry Creek area continues to densify, what we're finding is a lot of our parking is being utilized by people not shopping at the center," Burkinshaw said. "The rate structure is being implemented in an effort to curb that and ensure that all of the shoppers that come to the shopping center always have ample access to great parking."

The announcement comes about three years after the Denver mall switched to a paid-parking system — a move that drew considerable criticism and pushback from the community. The mall had provided free parking up until January 2017.

Nick LeMasters, the mall's general manager at the time, defended the change, telling the Denver Business Journal that an investment in "smart parking" — technology that tells customers how many spots are available on each deck — and the construction boom in the area led to the decision.

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Some potential shoppers said they are not happy with losing all free parking.

"If I came down on a weekend and had to run in and grab something and have to pay $2 to park, I think that's kind of ridiculous," Natalie Lisowy said.

Laura Carmody thinks the new parking rates could scare people off.

"It might actually deter people from coming," Carmody said. "I know a lot of people that come to this mall versus like Park Meadows, so I can see that deterring people."

Here's the breakdown of parking fees effective Jan. 21:

  • 0-2 hours: $2
  • Each additional hour: $2
  • Max daily rate: $16
  • Lost-ticket Fee: $16

Several stores offer validation for parking, including 801 Chophouse, AMC Theater, Elway's, Louis Vuitton and more. The full list and stipulations for validated parking can be found on the Cherry Creek Shopping Center website.

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