Aurora’s Stanley adds arts, culture to its expansive eating, entertainment and shopping menu


AURORA | Add bona fide performing arts venue to the ever-growing list of uses for Aurora’s forthcoming Stanley Marketplace.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts last month announced a new partnership with the developers behind the former aviation manufacturing facility on Dallas Street. The collaboration will bring a fully-fledged DCPA production to the cultural bazaar next spring.

Though still vague on exact details, the new partnership will first spotlight a production in spring 2017 featuring a local branch of international comedy trio A.C.E. The yet-to-be-named show will be produced by Off-Center, the slightly off-kilter branch of the DCPA that regularly stages shows such as “The SantaLand Diaries,” by famed satirist David Sedaris.

The production will partially be funded by the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audience for Sustainability initiative, a six-year-long venture that is distributing $52 million to 26 arts organizations across the country in an effort to bring performances to a new sect of audiences.

“We are really looking forward to taking on new artistic challenges with this show,” Charlie Miller, curator of Off-Center, said in a statement. “With our recent production of ‘Sweet & Lucky’ we occupied a 16,000-square-foot warehouse and built an immersive world for the audience to explore … The amazing new 22-acre Stanley Marketplace will be the perfect setting for this hilarious new theatrical experience created by Denver’s own A.C.E.”

Set to open to the public sometime next month, Stanley Marketplace will bring about 50 new ventures — ranging from breweries to bouquet-assembling shops — to Aurora.

“We’re big fans of collaboration, and we leaped at the chance to work with the team from Off-Center,” Bryant Palmer, spokesman for Stanley, said in a statement. “They excel at producing one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences, and we’re building a marketplace in an old aviation manufacturing facility with a rich history. That sounds like a perfect combination to us.”

Under development for more than two years, the Stanley project technically falls under the purview of Stanley JV, which is an amalgamation of Flightline Ventures — controlled by developers Mark Shaker, Lorin Ting and Megan Von Wald — as well as the Denver-based Westfield Companies.

In an emailed statement, Palmer said that while a “performing arts project” was never a premeditated use for the Stanley building, plans for the project were always centered around collaboration.

He added that the eventual performance space in the massive marketplace will be somewhat unconventional.

“We don’t have a proper auditorium with a stage and back of house or that sort of thing,” he said. “But we do have a giant events space, and lots of other interesting public spaces, and a deep love of the arts in general, so sure, we’d love to continue to be a place that fosters artistic experiences in a variety of ways.”

When asked about the possibility of holding regular performances at Stanley, Palmer was reticent, but optimistic.

“One of the exciting parts about Stanley is that so much of what we’re doing here is new, for this neighborhood and for the whole Front Range,” he said. “We’ve collaborated with amazing arts organizations like the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and Black Cube Nomadic Museum and now DCPA and Off-Center. This is certainly just the beginning.”

Companies and eateries slated to open within the some 100,000-square-foot warehouse include Denver Biscuit Company, Rosenberg’s, Kindness Yoga, Sweet Cow Ice Cream, Infinite Monkey Theorem and Stanley Beer Hall, a semi-casual concept backed by high-profile Denver chef Kevin Taylor.

There are no businesses currently operating within Stanley, according to spokeswoman Catie Mayer. She said that the developers are hoping to have a few businesses operating by mid-November, and continue to open doors on a rolling basis after next month.