First things first as Aurora’s Stanley gets ready for takeoff

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AURORA | The whir of saws and the thud of hammers echoes for a few blocks around 2501 Dallas St. in northwest Aurora.

The future home of Stanley Marketplace, a hub of unique shopping and dining in the old Stanley Aviation building at 25th and Dallas, has been under construction now for the better part of a year.

And while a rumored Labor Day opening won’t happen, organizers behind the marketplace — which local leaders hope will turn this corner of Aurora into a destination for trendy culture and chic cuisine — hope it’s just a few weeks away from opening its doors.

Mark Shaker, one of the co-founders of the $25-million project, said he hopes to get Stanley’s green light to open around the second week of September.

Just a few businesses will open then, Shaker said,  but that opening will be the first of many over the coming months.

“Each week there will be new businesses opening their doors,” he said.

That will continue for several weeks, Shaker said, and once the bulk of the companies are in place Stanley will throw a grand-opening bash.

Already, there are 54 businesses signed up to open in the Stanley space, Shaker said, and every week the project is signing up more.

One of those businesses is Cheluna Brewing Co., formerly named Casita.

Founder Javier Pérez said the brewery, which he hopes to open in October, changed its name because there are other businesses with the same or similar names and it was causing confusion.

“Rather than having to unravel something like that forever, we decided to change the name,” he said.

Pérez said that when they went to change the name they kept running into similar troubles though.

“Every good word is taken,” he said with a laugh. “It’s like there is a machine that swallows up every cool word of phrase.”

So, he said he and his wife opted to make up a word. In Mexico, Pérez said “chela” is slang for a cold beer. So they combined that with the Spanish word for moon — which is part of their logo — to make Cheluna.

Pérez said he chose Stanley in part because the neighborhoods around the future market have long been under-served.

“It’s a dry watering hole and now it’s gonna be full for all the people around here,” he said. “This is going to be a breath of fresh air.” Among the other tenants planned for Stanley are Glazed and Confuzed doughnut shop, Denver Biscuit Company, Rosenberg’s Bagels, GoodBird Kitchen and Mondo Market.

Getting the 100,000-square-foot aviation equipment factory converted into a sprawling marketplace hit some of the same struggles this summer that other large-scale construction projects did, namely, a dearth of skilled laborers around the metro area.

Shaker said that not only was it tough to find enough construction workers to finish the job, but the labor shortage meant a spike in costs. “Costs have gone through the roof,” he said this week. “We’ve had to be creative as far as finding a way to get all the folks in to finish the building.”

Shaker said that while many of Stanley’s store fronts aren’t officially open, there is still lots happening there. That includes the Cherry Arts Festival next month and the Big Wonderful Brews and Blues Festival set for Sept. 3.