February 1, 1998

Circuit City to anchor new Boulder retail project

BOULDER — After three years of work, developer Jim Loftus says he will demolish an old car dealership at 28th and Pearl streets starting in March to make way for a new retail project.

A Circuit City computer store will anchor the development with a 34,000-square-foot building backing to 26th Street. Circuit City plans to take 29,700 square feet of the new building and lease 4,600 square feet to Musician’s Warehouse, a chain store with another location at 96th Street and Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster, Loftus said.

A 71-space employee parking garage will be built underneath Circuit City, he said. Above-ground parking numbers about 90 spaces.

Buildings on 28th and Pearl streets with entrances facing west and south onto a common parking lot will include Starbucks Coffee, Einstein’s Bagels and Runner’s Roost. Also under negotiation are a Rubio’s restaurant Loftus describes as a “concept restaurant” similar to Chipotle Mexican restaurants, a Noodles restaurant and a Juice Stop.

Plans include windows facing street fronts, patio areas facing the parking lot, a highly visible public art site at the corner of Pearl and 28th streets and a “mini-park” between the development and Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers to the south.

The project is very similar to the one on the northwest corner, emphasizing pedestrian access and buildings rather than parking lots, said Brad Power, executive director of the Bolder Urban Renewal Authority, a 300-acre area that includes the parcel.

“We’re trying to get buildings closely located along the street, rather than the buildings defined by parking lots,” Power said. “It’s not very pleasant right now, but that project we’re hoping will change that. The cars obviously aren’t going to go away, but we can do some things with the pedestrian access.”

Businesses in the urban renewal authority, bounded by Folsom Street to the west, Spruce Street to the north, the 32nd Street alignment to the east and Boulder Creek to the south makes up 25 percent of Boulder’s sales tax revenues.

Loftus has agreed to realign 26th Street to line up with the street on the north side.

On the southwest corner of 26th and Pearl streets, Loftus has plans for a distinctive 30,000-square-foot building. The project must be approved by the Boulder Planning Department, although it does not have to go through a public hearing process.

Although he has two retail proposals on the table for the corner, Loftus said there is no timetable for the second building project because of existing tenant leases. A previous bookstore proposal fell through.

“There are some existing tenant leases. Ultimately when all the tenant leases are up, we would clear that site, just like we’re knocking down the car dealership,” Loftus said.

The parking garage at the 28th and Pearl site is scheduled to start this summer, along with other construction.

Loftus has ground leases on both parcels at “substantial” rates. The land is controlled by Bill Crouch, a local land and auto dealership owner. Crouch did not return a call for comment.

Loftus declined to disclose lease rates for the project, although he said they match average Boulder retail rates. Similar rates in surrounding retail areas are about $17 to $25 per square foot triple net, according to Becky Callan Gamble, a partner with Dean Callan and Co.

BOULDER — After three years of work, developer Jim Loftus says he will demolish an old car dealership at 28th and Pearl streets starting in March to make way for a new retail project.

A Circuit City computer store will anchor the development with a 34,000-square-foot building backing to 26th Street. Circuit City plans to take 29,700 square feet of the new building and lease 4,600 square feet to Musician’s Warehouse, a chain store with another location at 96th Street and Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster, Loftus said.

A 71-space employee parking…

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