The Alpine-Balsam property, formerly the Boulder Community Health (BCH) hospital, was purchased by the City of Boulder in 2015. Plans for redevelopment have taken shape over the past several years. The reimagined site will provide new affordable and market-rate homes in a range of housing types and will be the future location of the Western City Campus to serve customers and house municipal functions. It will include new public spaces both in and outdoors, new streets and paths, sustainable solutions for infrastructure and buildings, increased tree canopy, a greenway for flood conveyance, easy-to-use travel options and managed parking.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the Alpine-Balsam project is moving forward as a long-term community investment. The city is nearing completion on interior deconstruction of the Pavilion and main hospital buildings. The project team plans to start exterior deconstruction of the hospital building by the end of 2021. Simultaneously, the city is preparing for infrastructure improvements (in areas such as flood and energy), analyzing housing financing scenarios and will soon be starting the design of the Pavilion office building renovation and making zoning changes identified in the Area Plan.
The City Council adopted new Form Based Code zoning for the city owned land. Our goal is to prepare as much of the site as possible to be ready for redevelopment when the hospital deconstruction is complete.
News and Updates
City Council approved the adoption of a new form-based code (FBC) approach for the city-owned properties at Alpine-Balsam to implement the land use and urban design elements of the adopted area plan. The purpose of a form-based code is to establish building form and design requirements for development on City owned land at Alpine-Balsam and implement the land use and urban design elements of the adopted area plan. A short overview of the FBC approach for Alpine-Balsam can be viewed here.
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City Council approved the deconstruction of the main hospital building on May 16, 2019. The scope of the project includes deconstructing the entirety of the hospital building and deconstructing the interior of the Medical Office Pavilion making it ready for renovation as city office space. Currently, the city is working on interior deconstruction of the Pavilion building while awaiting completion of federal environmental assessment requirements for the hospital building.
For work related to this project, the city will look to minimize impacts to the local community.
The city is taking a sustainable approach to reuse and recycle as many materials as possible. This means that materials removed from buildings will be catalogued and stored for future use. So far, the city has counted:
- 1,117 doors
- 406 sinks
- 236 toilets
- 2,510 electrical wall plates
- 916 electrical switch plates
The Alpine-Balsam site and nearby areas are impacted by the 100-year floodplain, high-hazard and conveyance flood zones. The current approach to flood mitigation for the site is to reconfigure the 100-year floodplain to convey the water in a channel along Balsam Avenue. This will allow and be necessary for the affordable housing outcomes onsite, and to remove city services located in the Pavilion from the floodplain.
The city has hired a consulting firm to engineer the flood mitigation solution and facilitate the federal FEMA process (known as a Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) and Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) process) to redraw the floodplain map. The schedule for the engineering and federal process will be influenced by the consultant’s guidance, though it is anticipated that a CLOMR may be submitted toward the end of 2020. This will be the first opportunity to confirm if the mitigation solution is enough for FEMA’s needs, which then will allow the city to transition to mitigation construction.
City Council approved the adoption of a new form-based code (FBC) approach for the city-owned properties at Alpine-Balsam in Nov. 2021 to implement the land use and urban design elements of the adopted area plan. The purpose of a form-based code is to establish building form and design requirements for development on City owned land at Alpine-Balsam and implement the land use and urban design elements of the adopted area plan. A short overview of the FBC approach for Alpine-Balsam can be viewed here.
Access & Mobility
The Access and Mobility District approach identified in the Area Plan is focused on creating programs and structure to provide a range of mobility choices for future workers, residents and visitors to the area. It includes Transportation Demand Management (TDM) services, managed parking, and potentially the implementation of a General Improvement District (GID) at Alpine-Balsam.
The city-owned site's GID, if implemented, will collect property taxes for management, maintenance and parking infrastructure and fund on-going TDM strategies and programs. As implementation progresses, the viability and interest of a separate district for TDM programs and services or including this together with parking management and maintenance will be determined.
The process to analyze a GID will occur in 2022 alongside creating a strategy to meet the Area Plan’s goals for parking and access. This information will be used to inform both the housing and office development.
The Area Plan includes goals, objectives and strategy related to energy and sustainability in alignment with the city’s Climate Commitment. The city recently hired engineering firm WSP to perform an energy feasibility analysis. The study will determine whether the site can be “net-zero,” producing as much energy on-site as it uses, while also delivering affordable energy solutions for the future site occupants.
The city has already accomplished energy goals on the Alpine-Balsam site. Renovation of the Brenton building was completed in 2018 and demonstrated early successes on the site by consolidating a fragmented department into one building and converting one of the city’s worst energy performing buildings into a now near net-zero energy consuming building. The intent is to use the practices and lessons from the Brenton building toward the Pavilion building reuse project.
Overall on the Alpine-Balsam site, all of the concrete structures are being repurposed and reused which represents more than 40% of the total existing building square footage on the site and represents the most embodied energy.
Additionally, the city is working to sustainably deconstruct the remaining steel structures on the site. These represent less embodied carbon, and it is anticipated that landfill diversion rates above 95% can be achieved. Staff is working to reuse building materials in creative ways on other municipal projects.
The city has a great opportunity as the sole, current property owner to incorporate energy efficient and sustainable practices into the physical and non-physical elements of the site. For example, practices such as green infrastructure, flood mitigation, healthy building practices, and other common development efforts can be planned for and implemented through the city’s development and passed on to housing partners for implementation. All development on the site will be designed to meet the City’s future 2030 net zero energy code objectives.
Western City Campus at Alpine-Balsam and Pavilion Design Phase
The consolidation and relocation of city facilities was a primary motivation during the purchase of Alpine-Balsam. The Brenton building was renovated in 2018 and now houses the Finance department which provides sales tax and licensing services to the community from this location among other services. The adjacent parking structure currently serves city staff and customers of the Brenton building but will also supply parking for the Pavilion as well in the future. The collection of buildings and structures will form the Western City Campus at Alpine-Balsam.
Through the Medical Office Pavilion Reuse Analysis, it was determined that the Pavilion, located at the corner of Alpine and Broadway, is well-suited for reuse for city facilities. The design process will begin in 2020, followed by site review and permitting, and it is anticipated that construction will begin in 2022, but is dependent on other infrastructure work, including flood mitigation.
As the owner of the hospital site, the city can have significant influence over the affordable housing outcomes. Staff expects to approach affordable housing implementation in a similar manner as the redevelopment of 30Pearl.
During this process variables such as the housing market, financing options and likely partnerships will start to inform the mix of rental and ownership units; zoning will influence the mix of housing types such as townhomes, small or larger stacked buildings. These outcomes will also be guided by the vision for housing in the Area Plan. This approach allows the market and affordable housing to be designed to complement each other and the surrounding neighborhood. Construction for the affordable and market-rate housing can be roughly concurrent, because a large portion of the local funding needed will be made available at the time of entitlement and construction through the market homes on the site.
Staff’s first steps in 2020 will be to further the physical and financial testing that began in the Area Plan to understand feasibility and potential options that are available. Another key work item in the beginning stages of analysis will be to evaluate delivery options, though a master-development approach similar to other successful Boulder projects like the Holiday Neighborhood and Boulder Junction will likely be followed.
To be eligible for federal (Housing and Urban Development, “HUD”) funding for the future housing development, another critical step in 2020 is to complete an environmental assessment (EA), which is a requirement at the beginning of a redevelopment project that intends to use federal funding in the future. This assessment intersects with other environmental testing already performed or anticipated, such as soils and groundwater testing and hazardous materials abatement. Performing the EA now qualifies the city or its housing partner to apply and receive federal funds in the future.
As part of the city's plans to maintain the site, the city Office of Arts and Culture has commissioned several artists to paint murals on sections of the fence. The mural project is an opportunity to integrate art into the site during deconstruction, helping to enhance the visual profile of the project and providing an active space for community engagement. Artists selected for the mural project include:
Information about each artist is available by clicking their name. Learn more about the artist selection process and the city's Office of Arts and Culture by clicking here.
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