Promoting community by making it about the people INSIDE Denver’s retail market maintained positive absorption for the ninth straight quarter Still in demand Complexities of restaurant build-outs are different from other project types Retail construction PAGE 15 Insurance companies, banks, CMBS funds still have money to lend Showme the money PAGE 13 August 2023 PAGE 8 I n today’s business and societal climate, leading with the heart is more than just an aspira- tional ideal – it’s a cultural and operational blueprint for creating spaces and places that feel welcoming and reflect the true spirit of community that elevates the best retail centers. Creating an environ- ment that allows visitors to feel that sense of connection and promoting community is partly about design, experiences and programming but mostly about people. In some cases, it’s about genuinely remarkable people . There is no better example of that kind of person than Dena Creaser, a security guard at Fort Collins Mar- ketplace, located at South College Avenue and East Horsetooth Road in Fort Collins. Creaser’s daily walks around the center regularly bring her in con- tact with people at a low point in their lives. Some are unhoused, while some are strug- gling in other ways. But she still takes the time to talk to everyone, getting to know them hon- estly. Her friendly smile and engag- ing personality help anyone connect with her easily. Eventually, she started sketching some of those people and experi- ences that were part of the tapestry of her daily work. Over time, what started for Creaser as a kind of art therapy to help her process some difficult experiences would evolve into a moving chronicle of small moments and big-hearted interac- tions that take place in our com- munities and shopping centers. She put her drawings and observations together in a poignant and powerful collection of portraits of people and experiences. That collection, “Out of the Shadows: Drawings from My Daily Walk,” available on Amazon, is a stunning artistic achievement. But more than that, it’s a stirring testament to the value of our shared humanity. For NewMark Merrill President Sandy Sigal, Creaser’s example is both an affirmation and an inspira- tion. “We want all NewMark Mer- rill employees and vendors to feel empowered to pursue their passions and to forge those connections,” Sigal said. “It’s a priority for us to Please see Property Management, Page 2 Danaria McCoy, CRRP Vice president of operations and marketing, NewMark Merrill Mountain States