The shows the view of the 4403 Broadway mixed-use project from the corner of Broadway and Violet Avenue in Boulder. (Courtesy Emerald Investments)

Revived Broadway redevelopment to go before Boulder planning board

BOULDER — A mixed-use project in North Boulder some nine years in the making could finally be moving forward.

Officials for Emerald Investments I LLC will go before the Boulder planning board for a public hearing on Thursday to seek approval for the $12 million redevelopment of 2.5 acres at 4403 Broadway that is the former headquarters of Blue Spruce Auto Sales.

The project, at the northwest corner of Broadway and Violet Avenue, is slated to include 12 for-sale townhomes spread among two three-story buildings — one facing Violet and the other 10th Street. The eastern portion of the site would see three mixed-use buildings that would include 16 for-rent condominiums located above 9,207 square feet of commercial and restaurant space.

Emerald officials are seeking height modifications for both townhome buildings and two of the mixed-use buildings that would allow them to exceed the 35-foot height limit in the area. Those four buildings would range from 36 feet in height to just more than 43 feet.

The project does not fall within one of the designated areas of the city exempted from a moratorium on building-height exceptions enacted by city council last year. But the project is still allowed to request the height exception because the site-review application was filed with the city before the moratorium went into effect.

Boulder County assessor records show that Boulder-based Emerald, led by Nader Ghadimi, purchased the property in 2005 for $250,000. Blue Spruce moved to 3200 28th St. in 2012 before last year swapping spots with Valley Chrysler Dodge and moving to 2170 30th St. The building at 4403 Broadway has been used primarily for workshop space since.

Emerald officials first filed a concept plan with the city for the Broadway site in 2007. But a formal site review wasn’t submitted until 2011. After one round of review and comments by city staff, the project wasn’t resubmitted until January of last year. Two more rounds of revisions have been made since then, city planner Chandler Van Schaack said this week, though the basic concept has remained largely the same all along.

An Emerald official said in an email Tuesday that “numerous delays ranging from design change to the city of Boulder” had led to the extended timeline.

City planning staff, in its memo to the planning board ahead of Thursday’s meeting, is recommending approval of the project.

Van Schaack said the project overall does a good job of meeting the site-review criteria and fitting in with the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan. He said it’s located in sort of a transitional area between a variety of commercial development to the north and more residential areas to the south. He said staff has been amenable to the height exception in part because the site is affected by the floodplain and developers are planning to raise the buildings to compensate for that issue.

“I’m happy with the way the architecture has come out,” Van Schaack said. “There’s some significant changes from the original submittal. All told, I think we felt this was a pretty well-thought-out site for a redevelopment like this.”