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Monday November 30th 2015

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On the Drawing Board


The pace of development of just about any kind of real estate slowed appreciably with the advent of the Great Recession, even in Boulder where economic conditions were not as badly affected. However, the reticence of lenders to put money back into real estate financing has caused the development pipeline to empty in most cities, and Boulder is no exception.

Aside from some single family houses and small condominium buildings, the only real estate project underway in the city is Two Nine North, a 238-unit apartment building at 30th and Walnut streets. There are, however, seven major projects in Boulder that are in some stage of approval or pre-development. These are:

  • A 64,862 square foot addition to the Covidien office and research campus on Longbow Drive in Gunbarrel.
  • An apartment and retail project at 6685 Gunpark Drive in Gunbarrel, composed of 250 residential units and 19,440 square feet of retail space.
  • High Mar, 59 affordable apartments by Boulder Housing Partners at 4990 Moorhead Avenue in south Boulder.
  • Junction Place, 319 apartment units and 15,964 square feet of retail space at 3100 Pearl Street.
  • A mixed-use project atop an RTD bus station at 3151 Pearl Street in the Transit Village. The project will include a 135-room hotel, 360-space parking garage and 80 units of affordable housing. Boulder Housing Partners will develop the apartments.
  • Violet Crossing, 96 apartment units at 4474 Broadway in north Boulder.
  • Waterview, a 294-unit apartment complex at 5801 Arapahoe Avenue in east Boulder.

In addition, there are several smaller projects that may get underway this year, including the 43-unit Washington Village cohousing and condominium project on Cedar Avenue, the 41-unit Armory condos on Table Mesa Drive and a 39-unit student-oriented apartment building at 955 Broadway, across from the University of Colorado campus. Tebo Development Company has acquired and cleared a site on Baseline Road at US-36 on which the company plans a small retail and office building.

Two single family subdivisions may be submitted for approval this year, including Harper Hollow on Kalmia Avenue east of 28th Street and the controversial Boulder Creek Commons on 55th Street south of the East Boulder Community Center. The latter was first proposed in 2006 but postponed due to concerns about flooding and ground water issues.

A major future project, still in initial planning, is the redevelopment of the former Boulder Daily Camera building at Pearl and 11th streets in downtown Boulder. A California firm acquired the property and is considering its options. A design concept has not yet been revealed but the building will likely be mainly office with ground floor retail space. Rumors abound that a large national company may lease most or all of the office space.

Because of Boulder’s strict land use and development policies most segments of the local real estate market have not gotten overbuilt, with the possible exception of high-end condos and speculative single-family houses. The commercial sectors of Boulder real estate, as of March 31, 2011, are the following sizes:

  • Apartments: 5,146 units plus the 238 units under construction at Two Nine North.
  • Flex space: 1,194,423 square feet.
  • Industrial/distribution space: 2,376,122 square feet.
  • Office space: 7,335,767 square feet.
  • Retail space: 4,341,609 square feet.

For the purposes of these totals, apartments are in buildings of fifty units or more and the commercial spaces in multi-tenant buildings of 20,000 square feet or more. Retail space totals include downtown and University Hill.

Flex space is research and development and laboratory space with a limited amount of office space. Most of the flex and industrial buildings in Boulder are on the east side of town. Office space is concentrated downtown and in east Boulder. The largest retail concentrations are downtown, along 28th Street and on University Hill.

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