In addition to shopping and restaurants, visitors to Westminster’s Orchard Town Center can now partake in pop-up goat yoga and roller-skating. (Provided by Orchard Town Center)

Since it opened in 2008, Westminster’s Orchard Town Center has brought an AMC multiplex, REI store and J.C. Penny, among dozens of other retailers and restaurants, to 1.2 million square feet of outdoor mall space near Interstate 25 and 144th Avenue.

And now, you can add goat yoga and roller disco to that list.

“This is where Orchard is heading in the future: to be known for entertainment instead of just shopping,” said Taylor Alvey, vice president of leasing for Vestar, which owns and operates Orchard Town Center. “The more we offer these type of events, the more we can turn into a kind of one-stop shop for people.”

That’s the plan, anyway, for the currently unleased, 20,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by an H&M store. When the Swedish retailer decamped from Orchard after five years to become an anchor for Denver Premium Outlets in October, it left a gaping hole in a prime corner of Orchard’s real estate.

The solution? Adding pop-up events that inject trendy social pursuits into an otherwise shopping-centric retail center. In addition to a half-dozen outdoor concerts planned for weekends this summer — shutting down streets for a block-party style gathering — Orchard is boasting indoor, bimonthly goat yoga sessions and, starting last week, a 1970s-themed roller rink.

Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga returns Feb. 29, March 7 and March 28 with three daily sessions (9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon) offering a familiar mix of guided stretching and Instagram-friendly petting zoo. All events, which cost $20, have been sold out so far, according to a spokeswoman. (The next, adults-only roller-skating event is March 14.)

“We saw a great space and said, ‘It’s cold and people don’t really want to go outside in the winter months,’ so we thought it was a good use for it,” said Paige Jeschke, marketing coordinator for Vestar. “And we have quite a big social media following, so along with that, ad campaigns and email blasts, we’ve been able to create a dedicated audience for these pop-ups.”

The events at the space, located across from The Rusty Bucket at 14644 Orchard Parkway, are essentially marketing for Orchard, not money-making ventures, organizers admit. While Vestar’s Alvey wouldn’t reveal how much revenue Orchard is missing without a tenant in the old H&M space, he did say the pop-ups aren’t exactly paying the rent.

“It’s not a Band-Aid that’s trying to save revenue (from H&M),” he said, adding that he’s already in negotiations with a couple of retailers to lease the space long-term. “We view it as a vacant space, but in the meantime, let’s do something with it.”

(Provided by Orchard Town Center)

The pop-ups draw all-ages crowds to Orchard for activities they might otherwise visit Denver or Boulder for (such as goat yoga), while nudging them to spend more money at the surrounding businesses, Jeschke said. The “activation” of the disused space is part of a nationwide trend as malls and mixed-use complexes embrace short-term pop-ups in their vacant spaces, Alvey added.

Examples include last year’s Gucci pop-up at the Cherry Creek Mall, which combined the high-fashion Italian label with entry-level prices.

“Although Gucci would be great to get, we wanted to go more with the engagement and entertainment side,” said Janet Jerde, marketing director for Orchard. “Nobody in our area is offering goat yoga, and this is the first pop-up roller rink we know of in the Denver metro area, so these are unique experiences.”

Orchard is about 87 percent leased, Alvey said, not including 15 new deals representing 70,000 square feet of space that have been signed over the last 12 months. He said it’s hard to estimate the total annual revenue of the complex, given that tenants such as Target aren’t required to report their sales to Vestar.

When it opened in 2008, Westminster officials estimated that Orchard Town Center would reach $350 million in annual sales, which at the time meant about $7 million annually for the city in sales-tax receipts. Upscale businesses such as Snooze have picked Orchard for new outposts in the last couple of years, adding to the retail momentum along the northern I-25 corridor, Alvey said.

“The buzz is hard to quantify, but we can see when people are talking about Orchard because it’ll be trending (on social media),” he said.

The pop-up events also have a charitable component, Jerde added, including a partnership with Food for Hope that has so far raised about $1,000 for the Adams County nonprofit.

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