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Hill Hotel Project

Hill Hotel Project

* Update: The project concept design was presented for public input at a virtual meeting on May 12, 2020.
The next step in the project is for the City Council (as the University Hill General Improvement District board of directors) to consider a purchase offer from the applicant for the UHGID-owned Pleasant Street parking lot. If approved, the applicant will proceed with initiating a Site Review approval process.
A 2014 City Council priority to develop a Hill Reinvestment Strategy included the goal of restoring the Hill Commercial Area to year-round vitality. A 2015 study suggests three tasks to achieve this goal:
Address perceived lack of parking.
Attract an anchor use to generate consistent increased foot traffic.
Improve the overall attractiveness and cleanliness of the district.
The current proposal to redevelop the land at Broadway & University into an approximately 200-room hotel and 7,000 square feet of commercial space would meet the goals of an anchor use and beautification. The proposal would require the purchase of a 65-space parking lot on Pleasant Street that is owned by the University Hill General Improvement District (UHGID). A November 2018 UHGID parking utilization study found that the Pleasant Street parking lot was underutilized, but the perception of a parking shortage on the Hill persists. The University Hill Commercial Area Commission and the Hill Reinvestment Working Group have suggested that the proceeds from the land sale might be reinvested to pursue parking and access improvements elsewhere in the district.
In August 2019, at the request of council, staff provided the following to inform their consideration of whether to sell the Pleasant Street parking lot:
Economic impact assessment of whether the proposed hotel and commercial uses will have a positive economic benefit for the businesses of UHGID;
Parking demand projections with the introduction of the new uses on the Hill.

For more information, contact the city’s Hill Community Development Coordinator: 303-413-7335

District Vitality

The city and the  University Hill General Improvement District (UHGID) are considering a public-private partnership to attract an anchor use to the Hill for the purpose of diversifying the district’s customer base and potentially increasing its year-round business vitality. The opportunity was recommended as one of four key steps to achieving sustained district vitality in a 2015 study , which also identified the UHGID-owned Pleasant Street public parking lot as a ‘catalyst site’ to attract an anchor use.

The considered concept leverages the Pleasant Street lot southwest of University Avenue and Broadway to enable the construction of an approximately 200-room hotel and 7,000 square feet of commercial space. The hotel is anticipated to bring an additional 200 customers per day to the area, supporting existing small and independent businesses, as well as providing amenities for the neighborhood and visitors within walking distance of the university campus and other destinations. In addition to the Pleasant Street parking lot, the proposed project site includes the University Hill Plaza shopping center and two adjacent commercial parcels.







Enhanced Engagement and Tenant Support

As part of the concept refinements, the partnership has engaged translators to improve regular communications with the 15 businesses operating on the site and it has met with students to understand the benefits they hope to see from the project. The hotel operator has committed to creating student employment opportunities in the future hotel use. 

To support the existing businesses on the site, the developer has committed to creating a fund to assist eligible tenants with the cost of relocation into vacant spaces on the Hill or elsewhere within the City of Boulder. City staff has contacted all of the tenants to determine their business and relocation needs to provide some level of relocation planning assistance if and when the project is approved.

UHGID Parking and Access Improvements

In December 2018, the University Hill Commercial Area Management Commission (UHCAMC) voted unanimously to recommend that council consider selling the Pleasant Street lot for $3M rather than lease it to the developers for the project site land assemblage.

The preliminary findings of a November 2018 parking study suggest that the Pleasant Street lot is not well-utilized by district customers and that it primarily serves district employees. In the near term, plans are being coordinated with CU to ensure that existing employee permit holders have access to alternative parking if the project is approved.











A 2017 EcoPass utilization report found that the introduction in 2016 of a free bus pass for all full-time, non-student employees located within UHGID reduced daily employee parking demand by 20 percent. The November 2018 parking study found that demand for employee parking permits is currently approximately 80 spaces.

The UHCAMC recommendation included the suggestion that City Council dedicate the $3M from selling the Pleasant Street lot toward constructing an above-ground parking structure on the UHGID-owned 14 th Street parking lot in the south end of the district. It is anticipated that a structured parking lot in that location could accommodate 100-150 spaces. This would introduce employee parking permits at the south end of the district and increase the amount of public parking in a location that is well-utilized by district customers.









Project Financing

The current proposal suggests no public financing. The developer is requesting to purchase the Pleasant Street parking lot owned by UHGID at fair market value, which has been determined by a third party appraisal. The land and construction costs for the project would be financed privately. Such a project, if it proceeds, would complete all applicable review and permitting requirements.

Council Action