The view of the Camera building in downtown Boulder.
Mark Leffingwell
The view of the Camera building in downtown Boulder.

BOULDER, Colo. –

A Denver developer, in partnership with Boulder’s Communication Arts, wants to tear down the Camera’s building and replace it with a four-story, mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Boulder.

Randy Nichols, of Denver-based Nichols Partnership, is the highest bidder for the 1048 Pearl St. property that has been on the market since November. Camera officials expect to receive a letter of intent from Nichols within the next couple of days and will review it for signing, said Al Manzi, the Camera’s president and publisher.

Nichols and Camera officials declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal. Media companies E.W. Scripps and MediaNews Group own the property and would split the sale proceeds.

The agreement does include a lease-back arrangement for the operations of the Camera and Colorado Daily newspapers, Nichols said. He did not provide details about the length or terms of that arrangement. Camera officials declined to comment about their future location plans.

If the purchase goes through, which Nichols expects could happen within the next four months, his firm and Communication Arts would move forward on pre-development work and the necessary city processes for the prominent downtown corner, Nichols said.

“It’s one of the best sites in Colorado, in my opinion,” said Nichols, whose firm developed the Clayton Lane center in Cherry Creek and the Spire high-rise in downtown Denver, among others.

Nichols’ partnership based its offer to the Camera on the property’s current zoning, which includes the potential for a 55-foot-high structure, he said. The intention is to construct a four-story building with retail on the ground level facing Pearl Street and residential on the three floors above. Part of the Camera’s property extends to a building on Walnut Street that could remain and would have office space on the first floor and residential on top, said Richard Foy, partner at design firm Communication Arts.

Noting some city officials’ expressed desire for more affordable housing for people such as teachers, retirees and students, Foy said the hope behind a redevelopment of the Camera property is to offer residential units that are more moderately priced than the average downtown Boulder condo, which is about $950,000.

“Every city planner knows that you can only offer affordable and market-attainable prices if you have density,” Foy said. “That’s the key to all sustainable development.”

The development is intended to have 107 residential units ranging in size from 637 square feet to 1,250 square feet, he said. Prices would start around $200,000, with most around $400,000, he added.

It’s also important, he said, for the design to be mindful to neighbors and those who frequent downtown. Constructing a 55-foot tall building would cast a large shadow on sunny days, whereas designing the property like a flat letter ‘E’ would allow for the street to be bathed in sunshine. Also, he’s heard a lot of concern that newer developments on Canyon look too similar.

“We think that this building needs to respect its context, where it’s in a historical district,” Foy said.

It could take a couple of years for a project of this scale â with 102,000 square feet of residential, 13,721 square feet of retail and 22,800 square feet of office â to come to fruition. By that time, the economy should be in a better place, Foy said.

However, some recent actions taken by Boulder’s City Council â notably the rejection of the 54-foot-tall development at 1580 Canyon Blvd., the former home of Robb’s Music â are concerning, Nichols said. The purchase agreement is not contingent of an approval by the city, so the proposal is a “risk we’re going to have to take,” he said.

Nichols said he is optimistic and noted that the lower price point of residential offerings and a possible partnership with the city on a below-ground parking garage could make the plan attractive to the city.

Molly Winter, director of the Downtown and University Hill Management Division and Parking Services for Boulder, had some casual conversations with officials from the Nichols-Communication Arts partnership a couple months ago.

“That is an area that gets a lot of use … I think we need to examine every opportunity,” she said. The City Council currently is taking a look at downtown development regulations, including density bonuses, affordable housing and design issues. Mayor Matthew Applebaum said he wouldn’t compare a redevelopment of the Camera site with the 1580 Canyon project.

“For me, I’ve always assumed that in the main part of downtown, we would see larger, taller buildings with higher densities,” he said.

A redevelopment of the Camera property is exciting, but it’s on a critical corner in downtown and, hence, important to make sure it is done right, he said.

“This is a fabulous opportunity to really integrate the pedestrian mall with everything to the west, to really make it a place that is fully integrated and pedestrian-friendly and meets a lot of the other goals,” he said. “Clearly they’re trying to respond to what the city has said we’d like to see.”

The Camera has operated at the Pearl Street site since 1891.

Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or

Archived comments

A terrific spot for 25-30,000 new condos for that $950,000 each, stack um high…………….


4/3/2009 5:22:14 PM

yeah right…moderately priced. Bollocks!


4/3/2009 5:24:06 PM

how is this property zoned for 55 feet height limit. I thought that such a height limit was only after getting an exemption from the planning board.


4/3/2009 5:30:24 PM

107 residential units….that’s at least 150 vehciles…

55 foot height; ‘sustainability’; ‘affordable housing’…’developer drama’;’zoning’…’urban transportation and density’…

AND – the daily camera building is probably ‘historic’…

The Boulder City Council will have fun with this one…

This ought to be fun to watch….


4/3/2009 5:31:50 PM

God save us from the mixed use zombies!


4/3/2009 5:33:35 PM


they probably already have the exemption.Just like Leach had his.


4/3/2009 5:54:08 PM

Here we go again. More boring downtown commercial “modern” brick faced architecture, designed to maximize square footage– aesthetics be damned. It’s going to suck for everyone except the developer. Count on it.


4/3/2009 5:54:35 PM

I’m glad I got back to town at the start of what will surely be an exciting melodrama. Anyone need popcorn?


4/3/2009 6:01:59 PM

It would be cool if they’d make several different designs and let the community majority vote which one to use.I bet they’d be able to select one that doesn’t look like Canyon.


4/3/2009 6:06:04 PM

surfriders: Leach didn’t have the exemption. He had to get it approved by the planning board and they reduced the height below 55 i think. How can they have such an exemption on the camera building that has been there forever before even purchasing it? I just looked and leech’s building is limited to 41 feet height. Again, why does the article say the building is zoned for 55 feet height. Does anyone know if this is true.


4/3/2009 6:08:21 PM

Real Estate prices are starting to fall in Boulder and I have no doubt by the time this is finished they really be moderately priced because that’s all they will be able to sell them for.


4/3/2009 6:19:41 PM

The Camera building is ugly, but I’d rather have that than a four-story building.


4/3/2009 6:25:34 PM

Let business do what they want! Build a world trade center there. We need as high as you can get! We want New York Rocky Mountain style. Bring it on. We need Sub-way’s and we need mega people here. Congestion, Pollution at high altitudes! 5 dollar parking for a half hour. Broadway west! Boulder you have no history. Just do what money makes. Greedy Bast*ards will wreck us.


4/3/2009 6:30:58 PM


4/3/2009 7:00:55 PM

I think they should tear that place, it is a dump. I used to work for the Camera as a carrier and that place is horrible.

Did you know the newspaper carriers you get your paper from every day, only get paid 25 cents, if they are lucky to get that much, for every paper they throw. Not every carrier has a drive route either. Some of the carriers have apt routes or walking routes. Those people have to carry anywhere from 200 or more papers at one time, I always hated the Sunday papers and all that weight. If for some reason that paper gets stolen or they forgot to deliver that paper, that carrier gets charged 5.00 a paper. So if someone steals, say 6 papers, that carrier is now charged 30.00 for that night of delivering, even though they only get 25 cents a paper. Oh and the carriers also have to pay for their own gas, the Camera does not help them in that area.

Those carriers have to deliver the paper no matter what the weather is like or they are charged. They are more reliable then the postman.


4/3/2009 7:25:04 PM

onorma – wow another Chicagoan who remembers Cabrini-Green with heartfelt warmth.

Gang bangers and emergency responders called Cabrini-Green “the shooting gallery”. Not just because of the drug connotations, but because bangers had a great open field of fire on the responders who tended to remove their orange and green vests when they arrived to heal the sick and GSWs.

The Camera could invest wisely in a ground floor Gun store now, before all the space gets snapped up. Fodder for future fiction about Guns.


4/3/2009 7:31:34 PM

what is with this socialism?Why should a developer be forced to have affordable housing? Should we also force the BMW dealership to sell a few new BMW’s for $5,000.If people cannot afford a new BMW, then they should buy a KIA, and if they cannot afford to live in this town, then move to Longmont or Superior.

4/3/2009 7:39:00 PM

107 residential units added to that part of town will only result in more traffic congestion.

Nothing good for Boulder will come from this deal.


4/3/2009 7:39:18 PM

All of this real estate changing hands and not one mention of any of it being used to open a Boston Market.Shame.


4/3/2009 7:43:13 PM

I left Boulder for 5 years and upon my return discovered how ugly Pearl Street has become with all of the “redevelopment” that has occurred — the tall, cold brick facade at 15th and Pearl Streets heading east on Pearl (on the south side of Pearl Street), plus the whole west end of the block where Pearl St. meets 9th, then around the corner along 9th, to Walnut, etc.

It all looks the same, the diversity in architectural styles and buildings is long gone and everything feels sterile to me.

Now it looks like more of the same perhaps in the Daily Camera space – yuk.Who wants to stroll down some chilly, shadowed sidewalk — because that is what it’s like where those tall brick facades block the sun for a good portion of the day.


4/3/2009 7:57:44 PM

I sincerely hope that they build something with character and that takes some architectural chances…something contemporary and iconic downtown would be perfect…I’m sick of these boring attempts to tickle tourists’ need for quaintness and nostalgia: “like, this is a picture of me and my bff on our trip to boulder eating ice cream!!isn’t it cute and quaint?I could totally live there!”B.S.

challenge the community with something daring.


4/3/2009 8:25:08 PM

Begin the funeral dirge for the Daily Camera. The new owners would be crazy to not consolidate operations to the already underutilized downtown Denver Newspaper Agency offices.

If they want to keep a couple cub reporters in Boulder, they can work from home, or from a far more economical office space out on east Arapahoe at 65th, or on north Broadway behing the Bustop.

The online edition is alreay managed remotely from 2000 miles away, they might as well outsource it to Bangalore India, hiring a whole room of IT techs for less than the salary of one US based employee.


4/3/2009 8:49:38 PM

I remember when they built the camera building and I have never liked it!But the “mixed use” condo/botique wasteland doesn’t sound like an improvement.Boulder has been such a great place for 100 years.Why, now, does the big money show up and turn it into something that it shouldn’t be.


4/3/2009 8:58:29 PM

I’m surprised that J. Midyette didn’t purchase it out of spite, just to tear it down and make a dog park.


4/3/2009 9:07:49 PM

Half of Boulder’s commercial space esp on Pearl St stands empty. How ridiculous this is, and in an already congested area that does not have good traffic flow as it is. No.


4/3/2009 9:37:43 PM

Um, you left out a MAJOR piece of information.

If the Camera building is sold, where do the Camera and the Colorado Daily go?

4/3/2009 9:38:31 PM

smithonmon and BHS80:remember Niwot’s curse?

“People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty.”


4/3/2009 9:43:23 PM

Parking is life.$30,000/space.SOMEbody has to pay for it. WHO??


4/3/2009 9:51:07 PM

onoma – What do you know about the green?I grew up in Chicago.


4/3/2009 9:53:29 PM

Good place for actual goods and services for residents in Central West Boulder. Like grocery and hardware.


4/3/2009 9:55:11 PM

I think “mixed use” means it will be only partially occupied.


4/3/2009 10:11:38 PM

Mixed use = high-rise boondoggle. Like there isn’t enough high priced housing and retail space? Well, at least the retail can get sorted out. There’s plenty of bored rich house wives and girlfriends that may try out their merchantdizing with yet another boutique. Boulder is looking more and more like an Eastern block country with these block-long multi-story phallus’.


4/3/2009 10:23:04 PM

Great, another One Boulder Plaza abomination.Sigh.


4/3/2009 10:38:28 PM

“Like grocery and hardware.”

Hardware = Rifles, Guns & Ammo


4/3/2009 10:40:11 PM

Posted by BiggieSmalls on April 3, 2009 at 9:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

onoma – What do you know about the green? I grew up in Chicago.

Read the link.It is what Boulder will become,

continuing at current trends.According to the wiki, it was a huge failure as it increased in size, leading to crime, murder, drugs, as we are seeing here.Crowding equals crime.29th St or what Matt calls the multi-modal corridor is a perfect spot for the next Cabrini-Greene.

What we call affordable housing is really Public Housing or slums, eventually.Gangs and drug dealers out number the police.How many murders have we had this year?

C-G has been decreased from 15,000 to nearly closed.Later development was sub standard as the budget decreased.IT WAS A FAILED PROJECT MOST CITIES HAVE LEARNED TO AVOID, NOT EMULATE, AS BCC SEEMS TO BE DOING.

I drove past it every day for years.One of its distinguishing features is that it was surrounded by wealth.To whom the gangs sold their coke.


4/4/2009 1:17:54 AM

The site is not zoned for four stories and 55 feet in height (DT-5). It has a two story limit for the majority of the property except the corner of Pearl and 11th. And it certainly does not have a 55 foot height limit, it’s 35 feet and best of luck to those who try to go above it (see 1580 Canyon).

Just for reference not one of the projects done downtown in the past five years has come close to the max allowable FAR and by the numbers quoted this right up there. That is totally unrealistic. Oh, and not one of the recent developments downtown has been done by a developer who has not lived in the city for more than a decade. We chew up guys from out of town and spit them out.

The vitriol in this little town will kill anything that looks like change and we will be left with a rotting, environmental pit (printing presses for 50 years).

4/4/2009 2:02:23 AM

JOE it looks like it can go up to 45 feet in a corner area only of 70 by 50 feet, which of course would be way too small an area of communication arts plans. Did you notice that the camera changed the above article to “the property is zoned for 55 feet” to the “potential of 55 feet”. What this means is that we have to make sure the same city council is elected next year. They did not allow communication arts to go above 37 feet at ninth and pearl, except i think for an airconditioning unit. It looks like some high rise developer from Denver wants to come into the city and rape Boulder.


4/4/2009 4:46:54 AM

Why not 8 stories?Why not 16?The city has steadily crept in the direction of turning central Boulder into a grid of shadowed canyons.Why not just take a grand step in the direction of frankly admitting that money is god, not quality of life for all of us who came here for the sunshine and light and open air and views?Who needs to see the Flatirons anyway?Those who can pay to play and pony up for one of Mr. Nichols’s elevated perches, that’s who.And I’ll eat my shorts if “Prices…start around $200,000, with most around $400,000.”


4/4/2009 6:01:41 AM


the orignal request and approval by the planning board and the city council was the rezoninig and the height variance.

The petition forced the council to deny the zoning and the height.On retry the leach again tried for the heightexempemption which of course was again approved by the planning board but knocked down by the city council.

tao you have it figure out. with the air conditioning stuffthose Canyon buildings are 5 stories.


4/4/2009 6:02:38 AM

Lynn Segal attends the Penalosa presentation and she already starts to make more sense! Yay Boulder. We need more activists concerned with community benefit rather than preserving the status quo.

However, if we are to raze a building, the replacement better be a got dem better architectural monument than the existing building (its South facade being the only current asset, if that). 11th and Pearl is one of the most defining intersections in town, and I’ll be d*mned if it doesn’t match historic Pearl.


4/4/2009 6:19:42 AM

@goofygolucky – You clearly don’t live downtown, so go hike Red Rocks (if you know where that is).

Secondly, your Sunday visit to Pearl is not constitutionally protected, so please don’t presume that we believe you’ll be hanging out on the 8 foot sidewalk outside of Juanitas (if you know where that is).


4/4/2009 6:29:08 AM

@intrepid – There’s an interesting solution to the development controversy. Let the investors determine the design specs, leave the design to a vote. I’m not certain it would work, but I like the creativity.


4/4/2009 6:42:11 AM

Boys (Joe and Tao): Why do you think they partnered with Richard Foy/Communication Arts? I got your developer who’s lived in town for more than 10 years right here. (NJ, in case you didn’t figure it out.)

4/4/2009 7:11:03 AM

Whaaaa, Whhaaa “Who wants to stroll down some chilly, shadowed sidewalk” Whaaa, Whaaa!

Same old group of “if it’s not my way, it can’t be done” and “make it a hardware store for me, dammit”.

Of course serf and his many log-ins are at the top of the list.


4/4/2009 8:03:44 AM

“I’ll be d*mned if it doesn’t match historic Pearl”.

Hey Kev, buy it yourself and make it look like you want. Oh I forgot, you already think you own everything in town like the looney seagull.

I want a goose that lays a golden egg NOW!!!!!!!


4/4/2009 8:12:35 AM

Posted by Jafly-Who wants to stroll down some chilly, shadowed sidewalk


I agree Pearl st is not really that nice anymore, it really reminds me of a shadowy city mall like 16th street.

Just needs more gum on the walk way and some roll down metal shutters on the storefronts.

If I want a snack or coffee I go to 29th street now days space and sunshine and very un-crowded, but I am worried that it might be a little too un-crowded and go bankrupt.

As long as they keep a coffee shop going it will be O.K.


4/4/2009 8:27:26 AM




4/4/2009 8:31:27 AM

Public housing aka in Boulder affordable.


4/4/2009 8:40:21 AM

What’s wrong with the building, again?


4/4/2009 9:52:08 AM

To repeat myself: More boring downtown commercial “modern” brick faced architecture, designed to maximize square footage– aesthetics be damned.


4/4/2009 10:11:03 AM

sidd —

I’m already with you on 29th Street.These days my money is spent on Folsom and eastward — never in downtown anymore.


4/4/2009 10:21:16 AM

creationWhat do you know about the green?


4/4/2009 10:38:21 AM

Four stories?55-feet?Is anyone actually paying attention to the skyline in downtown/Pearl any more?Sorry, that’s a rhetorical question. I suggest that they have a cap of the same height as the buildings adjacent to the Camera lot, which would be Old Chicago, The Kitchen, Amante, and so on.

What’s odd is that I recall that the Lazy Dog got all sorts of grief because it didn’t have the right facade to be on Pearl Street Mall, but now it appears that anything goes with the current city council. This is not good, it’s how Santa Fe, NM, for example, became an extended strip mall.

I suggest that this is a good time to draw a line in the sand that the preservation of Pearl Street Mall / Boulder character is more important than yet a bit more tax revenue or a substantial commercial real estate transaction.

The Camera real estate is an amazing piece of property with lots of potential to *add* to the character of our city. Let’s not lose track of that and lets not lose this quite literally historic opportunity.

4/4/2009 10:43:49 AM

biggie Smalls…”onoma – What do you know about the green? I grew up in Chicago.”…”creation What do you know about the green?”…….I dont know if you know anything about being green but it does sound like you know how to ask stupid questions..So I ask you…BIGGIE SMALLS what do you know about being green? or is that just what you do is ask people what they know about being green? are you a freakin leprechaun? By the way I lived in Chicago for years also…the whole city needs to be recycled..DIR-T….oh your talking about marijuana arent you? is that the green your talking about?im sorry, My post has now become more annoying than your stupid questioning of everyone

4/4/2009 10:55:45 AM

200k for a condo with 150+ units in it? Get real. You’re going to be buying a jail cell. Do not be stupid and buy before it goes up. People did this in holiday and ended up with teeny tiny places. You can’t buy off the plans and get an idea for how small it really is going to be.


4/4/2009 1:18:28 PM

where’s the mapleton hill neighborhood association? They’ve been able to stop all development in their hood. Let’s hire them to sue and go to meetings and scream and moan and wail and clap.


4/4/2009 1:19:57 PM

This thing will end up being another dressed-up flashbulb.

Have you seen the “wonderful” Peleton? Stack them as high and compact as possible!Charge an arm and a leg for a glorified apartment.

Make no mistake, the developers own this country.


4/4/2009 1:50:04 PM

Anything with Kev-H, means DO NOT READ

Cabrini-Green Public Housing.No mental facilities.

Lots of murder, gangs, drugs.Model all cities but Boulder are avoiding.

Google – Chicago

Posted by HairTrigger on April 3, 2009 at 7:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

onorma – wow another Chicagoan who remembers Cabrini-Green with heartfelt warmth.

Gang bangers and emergency responders called Cabrini-Green “the shooting gallery”. Not just because of the drug connotations, but because bangers had a great open field of fire on the responders who tended to remove their orange and green vests when they arrived to heal the sick and GSWs.

The Camera could invest wisely in a ground floor Gun store now, before all the space gets snapped up. Fodder for future fiction about Guns.

Get out your tasers and automatic weapons, Boulder Police.


4/4/2009 1:55:59 PM

Way too HIGH… and if I see another “Arete” concept for boulder, I’ll puke.Who are these people that come up with climbing names and haven’t ever been outdoors???Oh yeah, we aren’t talking about the monstrosity that is the EMPTY 800 bucks per square foot Arete building with NO TAKERS… such wasted views…of all the Aretes on the front range… and now we can hear about 55 foot building dominating downtown… HELL WHY NOT GO BIG??? like 20 stories …something really environmentally cool???Actually how about a PARK?

4/4/2009 3:00:16 PM

Posted by BoulderLuv

Did the citizens of Boulder request a four-story building? I doubt it. As a citizen of Boulder, I would like to request a simple, small park where the present Daily Camera building is.

Developers: Don’t call us; we’ll call you. Leave our beautiful community alone. Thanks to developers, Canyon Boulevard has become, to my eye at least, a hideous morgue of derivative “birdcage architecture.”

Developers: If you have to build, at least try to make your buildings beautiful and/or original. There ARE some handsome new buildings in Boulder. If you have to build, show us your talents.


4/4/2009 3:00:52 PM

Developers must hate Boulder. Heck, most of them don’t even live here. It might explain why they hire architects to design commercial architecture that is reminiscent of East Germany, but with brick facing and a bit of painted steel just to throw you off the scent.


4/4/2009 4:07:20 PM

do not forget that most of this current planning board approved the new buildings with special assistance and guidance from that great designer and arhitect………sopher.

And of course Bruno and Ruzin

the 3developers amigos.


4/4/2009 4:51:18 PM

What teacher can afford a $400k condo? I swear these people live in lala land.


4/4/2009 6:07:33 PM


4/4/2009 6:24:56 PM

bcarmic, you beat me to it. Indeed, how about tearing down the DC building, and making that corner property into a park? Of course, we are insane for coming up with such a non-moneymaking idea that would only serve to improve our city rather than nicely lining the pockets of a few most certainly very deserving individuals. What were we thinking?


4/4/2009 6:25:27 PM

Apparently others agree it should be made into a park. As citizens, let’s see that that is what gets done. Now, can we talk louder than the money of the developers?


4/4/2009 6:29:25 PM

I hope they leave a lot of green space for picnicking and put restaurants with patios on the ground level.How about a fountain that kids can run through.Trees! Climbing rocks! It could be beautiful.I think the condos should run 300 through 800 square feet.All the new ones along Pearl run way too big. How about dancing on the roof?We don’t need any more office space – people can work from home.Food, books, playspace, and condos.Office people are boring.


4/4/2009 6:49:14 PM



4/4/2009 9:33:17 PM

Hello Folks:

Yes, let’s have a park!

I really like your ideas summerof1975. We should all work on this.

Let’s keep Boulder funky.

Have a nice weekend, everybody.


4/4/2009 11:19:24 PM