Apartment construction booming in Broomfield

Joshua Lindenstein

BOULDER – As things stand, Broomfield has a mix of about 15,000 single-family homes and 8,000 multifamily residential units.

That dynamic will look a lot different when the city is finally done growing.

“What we’re seeing at build-out is something closer to 20,000 single family and 18,000 multifamily,´ said Dave Shinneman, acting community development director for the city and county of Broomfield.
Shinneman was speaking as part of the Breaking Ground panel at the Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference & Forecast on Thursday at the University of Colorado. He was joined by officials from the cities of Boulder, Longmont, Louisville and Lafayette.
It’s not hard to imagine such a drastic shift in Broomfield’s housing ratio when one looks at what is going on with construction in the city. Shinneman said the city issued permits for 1,770 multifamily permits in 2012 alone. This year is shaping up to have about half that many, but numbers presented by Shinneman projected 2014 to climb again to the second most ever in the city behind 2012. Shinneman said such levels are the highest in the Denver metro area.
Density seems to be a trend around Boulder and Broomfield counties as local communities merge together. Next door to Broomfield in Lafayette, community development director Phillip Patterson said there are no Broomfield-scale plans in the works for multi-family. But in the vision for downtown Lafayette, density has become a focus, though not necessarily easily.
“It was a struggle because the downtown urban renewal authority and the city zoning codes downtown did not allow standalone multifamily,” Patterson said.
If multifamily was part of a project downtown, it had to be part of a mixed use project with a cap of 60 percent residential. Patterson said he’s worked with city council and the urban renewal authority to allow for some standalone multi-family and mixed-use projects that have as much as 95 percent residential.
The residents to fill all of the apartments come from a variety of places, but mostly from outside communities Patterson said. In Broomfield, Shinneman said the Arista area along Highway 36 accounts for much of the apartment growth because of easy access for commuters to Boulder and Denver.
Boulder has its own fair share of apartments projects that have popped up recently, but the bulk of executive director of community planning and sustainability David Driskell’s talk Thursday was about all of the commercial and mixed-use projects going on. On every major street and intersection in town, it seems, there is a major project, from the former Daily Camera building at 11th and Pearl streets to the Golden Buff Lodge site to 30th and Pearl to Baseline Zero in south Boulder.
The intersection at 30th and Pearl in particular is undergoing massive transformation. The Solana 3100 Pearl luxury apartments are well under way on the southeast corner. At the southwest corner is the Pearl Place development that will include a hotel and hundreds of thousands of square feet of office and retail space. To the northeast is Boulder Junction, where Depot Square is under way with a hotel, apartments, retail and a bus rapid transit station.
Driskell indicated that development of the western portion of the Boulder Junction area could be a few years out yet. Pollard Motors’ lease runs through 2014 with an option to renew for two more years on the city-owned land. However, Driskell noted that staff would be talking to city council next year to talk about the property and options related to it.
Driskell added that the recent flooding could give the civic area master plan downtown a boost given that improving flood safety in the area was one of the impetuses for the plan.
“I think it will give momentum to looking at implementation of the plan,” Driskell said.
Longmont, too, will no doubt see impact from the flood. Director of economic development Brad Power said residential is coming back in a big way, particularly in the northeast and southwest parts of town. And downtown is getting renewed revitalization.
But Power said the city has suffered $130 million in damage to city infrastructure. As a result the city has taken a bit of a “timeout” from its five-year capital improvement spending program.
“We’re shifting a lot of that back into flood recovery so we can recover more immediately so we don’t have years and years and years of outstanding projects and things that need to be fixed,” Power said.
In Louisville, economic development director Aaron DeJong said as the city wraps up its small area plan for the South Boulder Road corridor it will begin looking in earnest at a small area plan for the Centennial Valley/McCaslin Boulevard area in the spring of next year.
“There are always cycles to development and infrastructure and so we want to be ahead of the game and proactive as far as what is happening there,” DeJong said.

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