DENVER – Changes are coming to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
That first hour of free parking is about to disappear.
General Manager Jeramy Burkinshaw said there has been tremendous growth in the Cherry Creek area, "and with that growth, we're finding that people are parking in the shopping center's parking (lots & garages,) but aren't necessarily shopping at the center."
He said the new fee structure is designed to "curb that."
The mall first began charging for parking in January of 2017.
The first hour was free under the program, while the mall charged $3 for two hours of parking, $4 for three hours and $2 for each additional hour.
But once the new changes take effect Jan. 21, it will cost you $2 to park for the first 0-2 hours and $2 for each additional hour.
"Our average customer spends more than an hour in the center, so they'll actually pay less under the new structure," Burkinshaw said.
Predictably, the rate change is drawing some feedback.
"I'm not surprised because it's Cherry Creek," said shopper Daniel Carrillo. "That is something they would monetize. It's predictable, but not that great."
"It's like they just want to keep sucking the money out of us," said Linsey Stacy.
Stacy said she has cut back on the amount of shopping she does at the mall because of parking costs.
She said she now spends more time shopping online.
That's something that Jim and Janeen McQuarrie said they try to avoid.
"As more people shop online with Amazon, it hurts local businesses," Janeen McQuarrie said. "I think that has an impact on, not only on what Cherry Creek looks like, but on all those that are employed at the mall."
The mall utilizes a “Smart Parking System” to track cars, where they park in the garage and how long they have been parked.
Burkinshaw said some stores validate parking tickets, so shoppers should ask at the check-out counter.
Stores that Validate Parking Tickets:
Burkinshaw also said that parking will remain free for major events such as the Cherry Creek Sneak, Cherry Creek Arts Festival and the Farmers Market.