During a concept plan review at Tuesday’s Boulder City Council meeting, city officials called on the Hill hotel’s developer to make sure the architecture is dynamic and vibrant. Courtesy Boulder planning documents. 

Boulder leaders want more than “stack of rectangles” in Hill hotel design

BOULDER — Boulder officials, during a concept plan review held at Tuesday’s Boulder City Council meeting, called on the developers of a planned hotel on University Hill to embrace creative design principles that complement the neighborhood’s funky college town vibes.

Councilman Mark Wallach said initial renderings make the project look like a “stack of rectangles” that’s “vaguely reminiscent of what we ended up with on 28th and Canyon [Boulevard] in terms of unimaginative architectural solutions.”

The hotel, versions of which have been in the planning stages for the past half-decade, would include 198 guest rooms and roughly 10,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space at 1313 Broadway. Denver-based Nichols Partnership is the developer.

Councilwoman Mirabai Nagle said the hotel design imagined in early renderings looks more at home in downtown Seattle than in Boulder and said, “I don’t need to see another ugly building built in Boulder.”

Chris Shears, a principal with Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects in Boulder who represents hotel developer Nichols Partnership, stressed that the designs provided to city leaders are preliminary and are not reflective of the vibrancy of the final product.

“It’s valuable to have a concept review as part of the process, but it’s uncomfortable for architects to reveal the concept of a project before the detail has been articulated,” he said.

Shears added: “There’s a good deal of design ahead of us … [and] I can guarantee that this project will be a good fit.”

A new hotel in the University Hill neighborhood is planned for 1313 Broadway. Courtesy Boulder planning documents.

Despite the concerns over the aesthetics of its design, there appears to be a base of support for the hotel concept and the economic revitalization it could bring to the Hill. 

“Since 2014, identifying an anchor use for the University Hill business district has been a priority for the council and for years our businesses have strongly advocated for the type of year-round economic activity that this project could stimulate,” Boulder Chamber director of public affairs Andrea Meneghel said. Without an anchor to pull money into the neighborhood, “we have serious concerns about the Hill’s economic future.”

 

BOULDER — Boulder officials, during a concept plan review held at Tuesday’s Boulder City Council meeting, called on the developers of a planned hotel on University Hill to embrace creative design principles that complement the neighborhood’s funky college town vibes.

Councilman Mark Wallach said initial renderings make the project look like a “stack of rectangles” that’s “vaguely reminiscent of what we ended up with on 28th and Canyon [Boulevard] in terms of unimaginative architectural solutions.”

The hotel, versions of which have been in the planning stages for the past half-decade, would include 198 guest rooms and roughly 10,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space at 1313 Broadway. Denver-based Nichols Partnership is the developer.

Councilwoman Mirabai Nagle said the hotel design imagined in early renderings looks more at home in downtown Seattle than in Boulder and said, “I don’t need to see another ugly building built in Boulder.”

Chris Shears, a principal with Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects in Boulder who represents hotel developer Nichols Partnership, stressed that the designs provided to city leaders are preliminary and are not reflective of the vibrancy of the final product.

“It’s valuable to have a concept review as part of the process, but it’s uncomfortable for architects to reveal the concept of a project before the detail has been articulated,” he said.

Shears added: “There’s a good deal of design ahead of us … [and] I can guarantee that this project will be a good fit.”