At a PLAN-Boulder forum on Friday, March 2, 2012, about the redevelopment proposal for the Daily Camera building, project architect Chris Shears and project manager Vicky Canto-Ponte of Karlin Real Estate revealed that the new, redeveloped building will feature retail space at the street level, office space for about 500 workers on the second, third, and fourth floors, six 49-seat “art” movie theaters below ground, a two-story restaurant, an automated parking structure that can accommodate about 290 cars, and gardens and gathering spots on a roof deck.
Canto-Ponce said that Karlin hopes to obtain all necessary approvals for the proposal during 2012, draw a building permit in early 2013, and finish construction by the middle of 2014. It has already received a “concept review” from Boulder’s Landmarks Board, the Planning Board, and the Design Advisory Board. Shears said that further revisions to the current design will occur before Karlin seeks final approvals.
The building will be four stories in height along Pearl Street. Shears acknowledged that it will block the current view of the mountains from the north side of Pearl. He claimed that an extensive shading analysis of the structure showed that it would not lead to longer lasting ice deposits on the sidewalks or the street. The materials for the building’s exterior will be masonry, stone, metal, hardwood, and glass. Shears declared that it will not remind people in appearance of the buildings on the north side of Canyon Boulevard from 14th Street to the St. Julian Hotel.
Shears and Canto-Ponce said that the existing building on the Pearl Street side of the property will be completely demolished and the materials recycled. However, they stated that the structure on the Walnut Street side will be retained, except for the street façade, which will be replaced. A rooftop bar and restaurant looking south is planned at the top of the Walnut Street structure. The current bridge over the alley will be superseded by a somewhat narrower span. Canto-Ponce claimed that the new building will be LEED-certified.
The distance between the vertical elements of the building at street level will be 25 feet, which Shears asserted is the traditional width of storefronts in downtown Boulder. He observed that the part of the structure at the corner of 11th and Pearl will have a critical visual impact on pedestrians on the Pearl Street Mall and on the sidewalks west of the Mall. He claimed that it has been extensively redesigned since the initial drawings and currently only reaches three stories high. He said that further design work is occurring on this corner element.
A plaza 60 feet by 65 feet will be created off Pearl Street at the west end of the property, and the walls of the parts of the building that surround the plaza will be glass. A two-story restaurant will be located above and to the side of the plaza. Access to the underground movie theaters will occur from the plaza. A structure for a bus stop will be constructed on Pearl Street.
Car parkers will reach the automatic parking structure (such as have appeared in New York, Los Angeles and other big cities) from the alley between Pearl and Walnut Streets. Carlo-Ponce said that it will be able handle up to six cars at a time and that the time needed to retrieve a car from the structure is expected to be 90 seconds. Windows inside the building will allow people to watch the structure operate. Shears said that a bicycle parking space will also be provided off the alley.
Both Shears and Canto-Ponce remarked that Karlin has spent a lot of time studying the alley, which it plans to widen. Shears noted that the new building will be set back 6 feet from the alley on at its 11th Street entrance to accommodate the dumpster used by the Walrus Restaurant, which protrudes 6 feet into the alley. He commented that dumpsters from the restaurants along Walnut Street currently line the alley and expressed the wish that they would some day consolidate their trash disposal.
Shears asserted that the roof deck will command glorious views of the city and the mountains, and he reported that extensive thought is being given to it. He said that Karlin has examined elevated spaces in various cities, including the Highline in Manhattan, and has convened a workshop that included restaurateurs, farmers, and wine-makers to imagine how the roof-deck might be constructed. He said that a lawn for bowling was even being considered on the roof.