Though no cities go untouched by the nationwide real estate crash, it’s hard to see how Boulder, Colorado has been affected. With a durable padding of residents from the University, as well as technology-driven companies and start-ups, developers are being meticulous about capitalizing on infill properties.
With few residential vacancies and Boulder’s ironclad growth management regulations, companies within Boulder have been forced to outsource their office spaces. Rally Software (on Walnut) recently announced plans to add 89,000 square feet to its headquarters, while Ball Aerospace is forced to lease a property half as large out of Lafayette (at Lafayette Corporate Campus). Medtronic surgical navigation systems are doing something similar out of Louisville via the Colorado Technology Center.
Unfortunately, Boulder’s rigid property guidelines make it relatively impossible to build up or out, which would be the most obvious options elsewhere. Though there is plenty of publicly owned land at the outer limits of Boulder, there’s no way to go outward, so profit is all about redeveloping and upgrading existing properties.
One of the larger projects proposed in Boulder are two four-story office buildings totaling 202,500 square feet, as well a hotel with a 120 room capacity. Not only is additional retail space in the books (a 6,000 sqft. addition to the offices at 30th and Pearl), but also an amphitheater able to seat 400 people.
The old Boulder Daily Camera building on 11th and Pearl is another high-profile redevelopment project, with 13.5 million invested in just this site (via Denver-based Nichols Partnership) in hopes of developing a ‘West Pearl’. In November, it’s slated to add 46,000 square feet of public landscaped rooftop, several levels of structured parking, and a movie theater underneath. Retail and restaurant space will fill the street level and much needed office space will take the top three floors.
Depot Square, at the center of Boulder Junction, is aimed to be a Regional Transportation District bus station and a parking structure able to hold 400 vehicles. It will be surrounded by 71 affordable housing units, to be completed around the first quarter of 2015. On the same site, Pedersen Development Co. is working on a 150-room Hyatt Place Hotel, as well as refurbishing the well-known train depot that the city relocated years back.
With Boulder’s residential market making an effortless comeback, the median sales price is up 9.2 percent in comparison to 2012, so it is crucial that the city invests in upgrading existing properties to keep up with the influx of people. Even with the flood that occurred in September, it’s unlikely that Boulder’s housing market will be significantly transformed in any way. Boulder has both aspects of a large metropolitan city as well as rural aesthetic appeal, so people are unlikely to want to relocate.
Fundamentally, Boulder is a fantastic place to live with innumerable opportunities, which necessitate redevelopment to cater to residents and businesses of the city. Though construction might slow business for a short while, the potential of such redevelopment projects is incredible.