BOULDER — Macerich, majority owner of the Twenty Ninth Street shopping district in Boulder, is aiming to spruce up and activate an outdoor plaza at the site by creating a public gathering space complete with beer and wine vendors operating out of recycled shipping containers.
The company is applying for a minor amendment to its approved site plan. Macerich has already received city planning staff approval, and the item is on the planning board’s agenda for Thursday as a possible call-up item.
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The plaza — which sits just northeast of the intersection of Canyon Boulevard and 29th Street — was formerly home to a skating rink that offered ice skating in the winter and roller skating in the summer.
But it’s been largely underutilized as the gathering space that was envisioned for it when Twenty Ninth Street opened in 2006. The skating rink closed a few years ago and was removed, while various restaurants that originally ringed the area shuttered over the years and were replaced by commercial office users. Those restaurants included The Railyard, Ruby’s Diner and Laudisio.
The plaza is now bordered by sporting goods store S.A. Elite and a vacant space on the north side, while the south side is home to offices for Juwi Solar and Zayo Group. To the east and down a level from the plaza is the Century Theatres movie theater.
Twenty Ninth Street marketing manager Kate Honea said the site’s great mountain views make the spot a natural one for appealing not only to nearby office workers but also shoppers strolling by.
“The whole idea could really be a great addition to the property and something I think could really resonate with Boulder residents,” Honea said.
Plans for the site include utilizing a trio of 8-foot by 40-foot shipping containers to provide spaces for independent vendors. One would house a craft beer vendor that would serve several local beers, with a second container used as a cooler for that vendor’s kegs. The third container could be leased to a wine vendor.
Documents submitted to the city show signage for The Barrel, which has a similar setup in Estes Park, on one of the kiosks. The other kiosk shows signage for The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, which has locations in Denver and Austin, Texas.
Officials for neither business could be reached Tuesday, and Honea said she couldn’t comment on specific vendors until leases are signed. She said a lease is out for signature right now with a tenant for the beer kiosk, and added that discussions are ongoing for “a few different concepts” for the second kiosk.
The kiosks will be located in a fenced area with controlled points of entry to allow for the alcohol sales. There will be several tables and other seating and landscaping features. Honea said there will also be space for lawn games and “grasslets,” or small areas of artificial turf, much like Macerich has added to the plaza over the past couple of summers.
“I think it will be a really kind of fun area,” Honea said.