Some New Year’s wishes for 2014

The year 2013 saw increasing optimism around the nation, with declining unemployment and a year-end budget deal prompting some to wonder whether the deadlock in Washington, D.C., might be coming to an end. (Don’t bet on it.)

Here in the Boulder Valley, office space is filling up, homes are selling fast – with staggeringly low inventories – and accolades come almost weekly, touting the Boulder area as a startup and entrepreneurial mecca.

So what are we likely to see in 2014? Perhaps we should start with these things that I would like to see, my New Year’s wishes for the Boulder Valley’s movers and shakers:

• To the city of Louisville, some nibbles on the hugely important former Sun Microsystems land along U.S. Highway 36. Remember grandiose plans unveiled several years ago – and then abandoned – for a 7,000-job ConocoPhillips renewal-energy site? The land in question is a jewel, with proximity to Boulder, Denver and numerous federal labs. Here’s hoping for another project that actually can see fruition.

• To Xcel Energy and the city of Boulder: a truce … oh, wait a minute. That was my wish a couple of years ago. I don’t think a truce is very likely, now that each side has scored a victory one way or another in Boulder’s drive to municipalize its utility. Xcel won a battle at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, but voters eschewed an Xcel-supported ballot measure in favor of one presented by the city. A truce in 2014? Not very likely, but one can dream, right?

• To Boulder Community Hospital chief executive David Gehant: a successful opening of the $125 million expansion of the Foothills Hospital campus. Next will come renovation of the Broadway facility and, eventually, sale of the Mapleton campus.

• To backers of the $700 million Superior Town Center development: a medal for perseverance. This project has been 20 years in the making and will reshape Superior, with 1,400 new homes and more than a million square feet of office, retail and commercial space. Some projects take time, but the Superior Town Center should be worth the wait.

• To every resident and business owner who suffered from the devastating floods of September: recovery and prosperity in the new year. The extent of the damage still boggles the mind, but the goodness of the community shone through even more, thanks to individuals, government, businesses and nonprofits.

• To officials at DigitalGlobe: successful planning for the move from Longmont to Westminster, with minimal disruption to current employees. (Admit it: You thought I was going to say something snarky, didn’t you.) Sure, it’s disappointing to see the company leave Boulder County, and disappointing that it didn’t wind up in Broomfield. But Westminster isn’t exactly Siberia – and those employees will continue to enjoy many connections with the Boulder Valley.

• To Rally Software and Noodles, newcomers to the ranks of the Boulder Valley’s public companies: continued stock gains in 2014.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-440-4950 or cwood@bcbr.com.

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