3-story downtown addition faces review

BOULDER — A prominent property ownership group in Boulder is expanding another downtown building.

The city of Boulder’s planning board was scheduled to hold a public hearing after press time Nov. 7 regarding plans for 1738 Pearl St., a building whose owners are proposing a three-story addition.

J Nold Midyette, a partner in the building with majority owner Unico Properties Inc., filed the plans with the city. Midyette last year sold a 56 percent share of his significant Boulder holdings to Seattle-based Unico. Unico and Midyette this year added a third story to the building at 1600 Pearl St., and natural-foods company Boulder Brands Inc. recently moved its headquarters to the new space.

“I can’t cite specific projects, but adding square footage to existing buildings is an effective way to accommodate business needs in downtown while maintaining the essence of Boulder,” Unico senior vice president for leasing Jim Rock said about whether adding onto downtown buildings rather than redeveloping would become a trend. “Undoubtedly there are other opportunities to do so.”

The 1738 Pearl plans call for adding 17,245 square feet of space to the existing 24,755-square-foot building that houses Frasca Food and Wine on the first floor. The 38-foot-tall addition mainly would be built on what now is a surface parking lot east of the existing two-story, 35-foot building. The first floor is slated for retail or restaurant uses, as well as some parking near the alley at the back of the lot, while the second and third floors would be for offices.

“There is strong demand for office space in downtown and a striking lack of supply,” Rock said. “We have the ability to accommodate our tenants’ needs for growth while improving the neighborhood through this investment.”

Rock said Unico is nearing 100-percent prelease on the office space, while the retail space has yet to be spoken for.

The building, at the southwest corner of Pearl and 18th streets, is in the Downtown 2 zoning district, which dictates a 38-foot height “by right” – meaning a building specification that requires no extra, more rigorous design review. But because the district allows only two stories by right, the three-story addition must go through the full design-review process before permits can be applied for. In addition to the third-story exception, the plans also call for a 7-foot setback on some parts of the third story, while a 15-foot setback is required by right. The plans also seek an exception to setback restrictions at the back of the property. City planning staff last month approved the plans, and the planning board called it up on Oct. 17.

SPINE BUILDING SELLS: Denver-based real estate equity firm Star Mesa Properties LLC closed recently on the $3.65 million purchase of the 30,548-square-foot office building at 5303 Spine Road in Gunbarrel.

Dean Callan and Co. president Becky Callan Gamble represented seller Spine II Group LLC, a group led by Gamble, her husband, Bruce Gamble, and her brother Scott Callan.

The fully-leased building is home to CareKinesis Inc., Barclay Capital LLC, Elithion Inc. and the headquarters for Lucky’s Markets.

Star Mesa principal Bob Cardwell said his group likes the Boulder and Gunbarrel areas and believes the building’s proximity to Longmont and the workforce that lives there makes it a strategic location for companies looking to lease space.

“Our long-term strategy for that property is as a long-term hold,” Cardwell said.

Becky Gamble said Dean Callan and Co.’s property-management team will continue to handle management responsibilities of 5303 Spine for now. The Spine II Group built the building in the late 1990s.

“The partners collectively had some other projects that they wanted to do,” Gamble said. “We owned the building for a long time, and felt it was just time.”

OUTLOOK PLAN APPROVED: Redevelopment plans for the Boulder Outlook Hotel & Suites have received unanimous site review approval from the city’s planning board, but it could be a year or more until ground is broken on the site.

The plans proposed by Austin, Texas-based American Campus Communities Inc. (NYSE: ACC) would replace the hotel at 800 28th St. in Boulder with a two-building, 100-unit apartment complex geared toward University of Colorado students.

ACC is under contract to purchase the hotel from Republic of Boulder Hotel Group LLC, which paid $5 million for the property in 2002. Dan King, a partner in the hotel’s ownership group, said the sale could close by the end of the year.

The Boulder Outlook will continue to operate until ACC is ready to break ground.

“We’re booking business through November of 2014,” King said.

The 4.3-acre site is slated to include two four-story buildings with an open area in between with a pool and sand volleyball courts. A six-level wrapped parking garage, with two levels underground, also is included in the plans, complete with a rooftop deck on top of the parking structure.

KALMIA38 UNDER WAY: Markel Homes Construction Co. and Coast to Coast Residential Development Inc. announced Tuesday that they’ve broken ground on Kalmia38, a 10-acre neighborhood in northeast Boulder.

The neighborhood features 57 homes on 38 lots situated between Kalmia Avenue and Palo Parkway, adjacent to the Northfield Commons neighborhood the two developers partnered on.

New streets and infrastructure have been completed. Markel Homes president Michael Markel said the first town homes and duplexes are under construction and will be ready for move-in by the first or second quarter of next year. Additional homes will be started in the next 45 to 60 days, and Markel said he expects build-out to take about three years.

The neighborhood will include 29 single-family homes ranging in square footage from 2,500 to 4,000 and ranging in price from $900,000 to $1.25 million. Six sets of duplexes, start at a market price in the $700,000 range. Four sets of four town homes are also included in the neighborhood.

Two of the single-family homes will be part of the city of Boulder’s affordable-housing program, starting in price at $334,900. Half of the duplexes are included in the affordable-housing program, starting at $298,500. And all of the town homes fall under the affordable-housing umbrella starting at $182,100.

The Kalmia38 sales office is at 3092 Big Horn St. and open Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. More information can be found online at coasttocoastdevelopment.com and markelhomes.com.

VACANCY STAYS LOW: The apartment vacancy rate in Boulder and Broomfield counties dipped to 2.8 percent in the third quarter, the lowest it’s been in more than a decade, according to a report released by the Apartment Association of Metro Denver and the Colorado Division of Housing.

The rate was down from 3.8 percent in the second quarter of this year and just a shade below the rate of 2.9 percent for the third quarter of 2012, the report said.

The local decrease came even as the vacancy rate for the Denver metro area as a whole increased from 4.2 percent in the second quarter to 4.4 percent.

Broken down locally, the city of Boulder’s rate, aside from the University of Colorado-Boulder area, is 1 percent. The CU area’s rate is 2 percent. In Longmont the rate is 2.6 percent. In Broomfield it’s 3.3 percent, and in the rest of Boulder County it’s 3.4 percent.

Average monthly rent for Boulder and Broomfield counties remained steady from the second quarter at $1,194, second only to Douglas County at $1,235.

LAFAYETTE

EXEMPLA CANCER CENTER: The owners of Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center closed recently on the $4.3 million sale of the upper two floors of the new comprehensive cancer center on the Lafayette campus.

Chicago-based real estate investment trust Ventas Inc., purchased the 45,000 square feet of space in the four-story building. Exempla spokeswoman Mary Meeks said Ventas will lease the space to physicians looking to open practices on the Exempla campus. The bottom two floors house Exempla’s cancer-center facilities.

Meeks said the upper two floors will be an extension of the Community Physicians Pavilion building, which also houses medical offices on the Exempla campus. Ventas owns and operates that building as well.

The $17.8 million, 87,552-square-foot cancer center at 340 Exempla Circle, just off of U.S. Highway 287, opened in early September.

LOUISVILLE

OLD LOUISVILLE INN: A group of five local investors paid $600,000 for the historic Old Louisville Inn at 740 Front St., with plans to build on and preserve the building for use by a future restaurant operator.

Historic 740 Front Street LLC purchased the building from Clover Clan LLC, which had paid $165,000 for the property in 1994.

Garrett McCarthy, who operated an Irish pub at the location until its closing in September, was manager of Clover Clan and is staying involved with the building as a partner in Historic 740 Front Street. The purchasing group also includes Gibbons-White Inc. broker Steve Sims, Louisville attorney John Gstalder, eye doctor Hale Kell and Mark Jarman, president of Louisville-based tech company Inovonics Corp.

“We’re all Louisville people and thought it would be kind of a fun project to be involved in,” Sims said. “The history of the bar is pretty cool. That’s what’s kind of neat.”

The new owners intend to renovate the 109-year-old, 2,600-square-foot building and build an addition of about 1,000 square feet that will include more seating for the restaurant as well as upgraded restrooms. The owners also plan to seek landmark status, which could open up some funding for preservation of the building through the city of Louisville’s historic preservation commission.

Sims said the group is hoping to have a new restaurant operating in the building by springtime, although he said the group isn’t in negotiations with anyone yet.

The building has had a colorful history, including rumors of it being haunted. But it’s also in a prime location, nestled between downtown and the future Downtown East Louisville development, a major mixed-use project just across the railroad tracks from the Old Louisville Inn.

Joshua Lindenstein can be reached at jlindenstein@bcbr.com or 303-630-1943.

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