December 4, 2017

Pearl West developer added to lead hotel project on Boulder's University Hill

The project, still fairly early in the planning, promises to bring a 150-room hotel, about 30,000 square feet of first-floor retail and underground parking with 170 public parking spaces and 80 more leased to the hotel.

It's been more than a year since the City Council authorized its staff to continue negotiations related to the project, just west of Broadway on the same block that's home to Cosmo's Pizza, No Name Bar, Bova's market Doozy Duds and Dot's Diner, among other businesses.

Right across Broadway, the University of Colorado is planning to build a large conference center, hotel and underground lot at Grandview Avenue.

"Were excited to have Randy as part of the project, given his local knowledge and his experience with the Pearl West project," said Sarah Wiebenson, the Hill development coordinator for the city and co-project manager for the site.

"His knowledge of mixed-use projects and constructing a large project in a pretty constrained site are very applicable to the project on the Hill."

Nichols did not respond to repeated requests for comment on his involvement.

But Lynda Gibbons of Gibbons-White, who co-developed Pearl West with Nichols at 11th and Pearl streets, said, "I spoke to him on the phone just a couple days ago, and he's very excited about it."

 

"Having Randy Nichols be the lead developer on the University Hill project is wildly exciting," she added. "He works well with the city and I think it's going to be a great move.

Together, the two upcoming projects, on both sides of Broadway, promise to change much of the northern end of the neighborhood, both visually and in character. City officials have discussed their combined role being, in part, to help make the area more of a transit hub, to which people don't have to drive in and out as much.

"I think we're in an exciting moment," said Jim Robertson, the city planning director. We're likely to get two substantial new investments on the Hill in the way of hotels and ... those are potentially a positive gamechanger, in terms of enlivening the business district."

The Hill right now is dominated by fast-casual eateries, small shops and vacant storefronts. The cluster of businesses that would be displaced by the hotel on the west side of Broadway are some of the neighborhood's most iconic, though the building they share is aging.

Of the possible difference once the two new projects come in, Robertson said, "We're going to have several hundred hotel rooms full of people and they're gonna want to come out and grab a cup of coffee or lunch or a glass of wine. So I think it's a great opportunity for University Hill to take on a more diverse existence than it has today."

Sage Hospitality, which just opened two Hiltons at 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard in Boulder, is slated to operate the hotel portion of the site west of Broadway.

It'll be about two years before construction would start there, by which point current businesses will have to be gone. Some have discussed potentially moving elsewhere on the Hill.

Wiebsenson said she expects a joint development agreement can be presented to the City Council "in the next couple months."

Across the street, according to a spokeswoman for CU, the university is "working to identify partners to develop the hotel and conference center ... and expect to provide an update within the next few months."

Article from the Daily Camera