If you go

What: Public input on University Hill hotel project

When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Basement of 1310 College Ave., Boulder

The latest conceptual design for the major University Hill hotel project will be made available to the public at a meeting on Thursday evening, during which the project team will also seek feedback on the design that it says will inform its look moving forward.

Between 5:30 and 7 p.m. on Thursday, in the basement of 1310 College Ave., the Hill Reinvestment Working Group will spend half an hour on the concept design — which is not being made available until the meeting — then leave an hour for questions and input from the public.

"We'd like an opportunity for public input before (the design) is finalized and submitted to the city for staff review and for a Planning Board public hearing," said Sarah Wiebenson, the city's Hill Community Development Coordinator.

The current plan calls for the redevelopment of the block just west of Broadway that's currently home to businesses such as Cosmo's Pizza, No Name Bar, Bova's market, Doozy Duds, The Fitter and Dot's Diner.

On the land would go a 175-room hotel with a lobby bar, 16,000 square feet of retail and dining space and a 200-space underground parking lot.


The hotel would be operated by Sage Hospitality, which counts in its portfolio a number of hotels in Colorado, including The Crawford at Denver's Union Station, Halcyon in Cherry Creek and The Elizabeth in Fort Collins.

Sage also just opened two Hiltons at 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard in Boulder.

The parking lot would be financed, owned and operated by the city, which is prepared to spend about $20 million — money Wiebenson said would be made back through taxes and parking revenue.

The Nichols Partnership is the developer of the project. Randy Nichols, the lead developer, also codeveloped the Pearl West building in downtown Boulder.

Shears Adkins Rockmore is the architect. The firm is involved in several high-profile projects in Colorado, including the upcoming Meow Wolf site in Denver and Pearl West.

Boulder's City Council is expected to consider a joint development agreement in May, and if it does, the project team will proceed to seek the approval of the Planning Board.

Wiebenson said the team's "best guess" is that construction will begin 18 months after the agreement is signed. Business tenants who will be displaced by the development will receive notice 180 days in advance of the existing building's demolition.

If the current estimated timeline holds, those businesses will be gone before the end of 2019.

There's no shortage of vacant commercial space on The Hill — in fact, the aim of the hotel project is, in part, to "revitalize" the commercial district — and Wiebenson said she's in touch with to-be-displaced tenants who may seek to relocate within the neighborhood.

'Some of them have definitely expressed interest and they've asked for the listing of spaces," she said. "Our hope is that they would choose to stay on The Hill."

Across Broadway from this project site will be a separate but related development: The University of Colorado seeks to construct its own hotel, plus a conference center, on a 3-acre plot at Grandview Avenue.

Together, the projects promise to bring a significantly different feel to the northern end of University Hill.

Alex Burness: 303-473-1389, burnessa@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/alex_burness