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Alpine-Balsam Redevelopment

Summary

The Alpine-Balsam site includes 8.8 acres of property that formerly housed the Boulder Community Health (BCH) campus on Broadway. The city purchased the BCH – Broadway campus site in Dec. 2015. The property includes over 355,000 square feet of existing building space, a five-story parking structure, and two large surface parking areas. The planning work initiated in 2016 includes extensive public participation to inform changes to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan (BVCP) and ultimately how the site will be used and redeveloped. The Alpine-Balsam project presents a unique opportunity to help ensure that future redevelopment of the site fits the community’s vision and goals and complements the character of the neighborhood. In addition, the property (along with the Civic Area) provides a unique opportunity to respond to the city’s decentralized office challenges in a way that reflects Boulder’s vision and values.

Status and Potential Next Steps

The first phase of the planning process is underway to develop a vision, guiding principles, and redevelopment options for the site and city-wide facilities. In first quarter 2017, members of the community and boards will have the opportunity to work with city staff and consultants in “co-creating” options for the redevelopment of the site. The results of these efforts will be presented at the City Council Study Session on February 28, allowing the council to help shape and refine the options.  The focus of these efforts will be on redevelopment of the site, but the community, boards, and council will also have the opportunity to provide input on how the elements of that redevelopment interact with city facilities to be located there. After the February study session, staff and the consultants will work to refine the options, and will present a draft vision, guiding principles, and option to council for acceptance in second quarter 2017.

As part of this process, the city is also developing an urban design framework, a tool to help understand the existing and potential future interrelationships between four key activity centers along the central stretch of Broadway (Alpine-Balsam, Downtown, Civic Area and University Hill), with a focus on physical form, systems and land use functions. The information assembled in the framework will help inform key decision-making along the Broadway corridor. Work on the framework, including public input and engagement, will continue through early 2017.
Currently, as defined in the purchase agreement, BCH is leasing back the hospital site and certain levels of the parking structure from the city until the end of 2017. At that time, BCH will vacate all portions of the site and the city will assume responsibility including ongoing operations and maintenance costs. Next steps in 2017 include development of an interim plan for the property. This will include analysis of all costs of ownership and operation for the main hospital and surrounding structures and planning to mitigate these costs wherever possible. Part of that evaluation will include analysis for how to begin deconstruction of the main hospital in the near term in order to offset the large energy costs associated with maintaining the building while vacant.

Council Action

• February 28, 2017 – Council Study Session
• May 2, 2017 – Council Meeting

Contact Information

Joanna Crean, Senior Project Manager, Public Works, [email protected], 303-441-3038.

Jim Robertson, Chief Urban Designer, Planning, Housing & Sustainability, [email protected], 303-441-4277.

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