If you go
What: City Council meeting
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: 1777 Broadway
More info: The Hill hotel item is not a public hearing
A planned University of Colorado hotel and conference center is "still a real project," CU officials said this week, while withholding other details such as timing or cost.
During a joint meeting of CU and Boulder City Council, Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Kelly Fox said there has been no progress in the last six months. She also declined to say when the project's details might be firmed up.
"(Maybe) within a year? I don't want to give a timeline," she said. "We'll have something we can announce sometime."
A 250-room hotel and conference space was first proposed in 2016, and property on Grandview Avenue was selected as the site later that year. Construction will cost an estimated $80 million to $90 million; a private partner will develop and operate the hotel. Few other details have been publicly shared. A CU spokesperson, in response to follow-up questions, would not even confirm if a partner had been contracted.
There is evidence of progress. The university recently declined to renew a lease to Starbucks, and plans are being made to remove two houses on Grandview Avenue. One, filled with asbestos, will be demolished; the other, given to a party who can pay for its relocation. CU will contribute $50,000 toward its removal.
The other planned hotel on the Hill, being jointly developed by the city of Boulder and private partners, will get a go/no-go vote from City Council on Tuesday after more than two years of planning
Increased construction costs have tweaked the plan a bit, reducing city parking spaces (from 247 to 201) and commercial space (from 30,000 to 10,500 square feet) and increasing the number of hotel rooms by 30 (to 189, currently).
The city estimates it will cost between $21.2 million and $22.2 million to construct underground parking, which it will then own and operate. Certificates of participation will be used to fund the build; it will take 19 to 51 years to repay the debt, depending on eventual cost and if council supports making some of the certificates tax exempt, as staff is recommending.
More than a dozen businesses will be displaced by the development. The city is working to relocate them; the landlord has agreed to give six-months' notice to tenants whose leases extend beyond the anticipated 2020 construction start date.
If council votes to move forward, a public hearing will be held Oct. 16. Whether or not the city chooses to participate in a joint development, the property owners have signaled their intent to redevelop the site regardless of city involvement, and have included that assertion into current leases.
One of the owners, Jamie St. John, wrote in a letter to council that the decision was "made long ago" to seek redevelopment "based on what we feel is best for the Hill district and the community of the Hill as a whole."
"Once upon a time the Hill was a great area," St. John wrote. "Something has to happen to bring it back to its former glory."