The Mod Boulder team recently received an email from an East Coast family looking to move to Boulder, who requested specifics about the housing options available at Boulder Junction. “I’ve noticed that the transportation hub is going to be developed into a mixed-use community in the next few years,” our inquirer wrote. “When I went to learn more about Nickel Flats, your site came up. I’d like more info about the development and opportunities,” he added.
Our inquirer had done his Boulder research, and his email sparked an inquiry of our own: What exactly is the current state of the Boulder Junction project? The multi-million dollar project currently overtaking 160 acres in northeast Boulder has been the subject of many city council meetings, planning reviews, and traffic jams since its plan adoption in 2007 (although ground didn’t break until 2012).
In our search for up-to-date information, we found lots of snippets and tidbits worth sharing with our own community. So we gathered a few facts, screen-grabbed a handy image, and polished our info to a glimmering sparkle worthy of any snow-dusted morning on the Flatirons. Here, our dear readers, is an updated what/when/where/why on the Boulder Junction Project.
1. S’PARK (Sutherland Park): A planned development within the northern portion of Boulder Junction to create a new mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood comprised of seven distinct areas. This development will contain 168 market-rate housing units, 77 permanently affordable housing units, and more than 150,000 square feet of commercial and office space. A site review was approved by the Planning Board on Sept. 3, 2015 and is subject to city council call-up this October.
2. Boulder Commons: A site review for 100,000 square feet of office and retail space, east of Nickel Flats and across from Junction Place, was recently approved by the planning board. Construction documents for the project are currently under review.
3. Nickel Flats: A 17-unit attached residential condominium building immediately north of Goose Creek on the west side of Junction Place.
4. Junction Place Bridge at Goose Creek: A new bridge crossing over Goose Creek and connecting the new Junction Place to 33rd Street. This project was completed in coordination with Depot Square. Funding came from the Capital Improvement Bond.
5. Future Pocket Park: Design will begin in 2016.
6. Pollard Site (30th and Pearl): A city-owned property purchased with affordable housing funds. The current lease with Pollard Friendly Motors expires in 2016, at which time the site will be available for redevelopment.
7. Depot Square (3151 Pearl St.): This mixed-use development includes an RTD below-grade bus transit facility (opened in August 2015), a 150-room Hyatt Hotel (opened in May 2015) and a four-story parking structure that is wrapped on three sides by 71 permanently affordable housing units. Also completed is the restoration of the historic Boulder Jaycees Depot building that houses a new restaurant, Roadhouse Boulder Depot. Funding for these projects came from a Federal TIP grant, city affordable housing funds, RTD funds, and private financing.
8. Pearl Parkway Multi-Way Boulevard Project (30th St. to BNSF Railroad) : A new street design was developed for the section of Pearl Parkway from 30th Street to the railroad. Funding came from both the Capital Improvement Bond and Federal TIP funds.
8a. Pearl Parkway Electrical Undergrounding: The overhead utility lines on the south side of Pearl were placed underground on the north side of Pearl from 30th St. east to the railroad. The project was funded with the 1% Xcel underground fund and city transportation funds.
8b. Traffic Signal at Pearl Parkway and Junction Place: A new traffic signal was installed and jointly funded by the city and adjoining developments.
9. Pearl Parkway Multi-Use Path Improvement Project (30th St. to Foothills Pkwy.): A multi-use path on the north side of Pearl Parkway was installed from 30th Street to Foothills Parkway. Funding came from a federal TIP grant.
10. Solana (3100 Pearl St.): 319 market-rate apartment units along with two retail units and a fitness facility on the ground floor of buildings facing the new street of Junction Place and the recently completed Pearl Parkway. On the ground floor are two relatively new retail spaces, Street Legal Pizza and Studio Be Salon.
11. Reve Pearl District: A proposed mixed-use development on four separate parcels at the southeast corner of 30th and Pearl Streets, is proposed to contain 244 housing units and more than 130,000 square feet of commercial and office space. As proposed, 126 of the housing units and approximately 20,000 square feet of the commercial and office space would fall within the TVAP area. A site review application is currently being reviewed for this project.
When RTD delayed the proposed light rail system connecting Denver and Boulder, many claimed that Boulder got the short end of the stick. The transit center at Boulder Junction—a mini Union Station, if you squint and hold your mouth just right—is considered Boulder's consolation prize, and one that, while grand, is perhaps a bit overbuilt. When and if the light rail system arrives, scale could be restored.
Missing light rail aside, Boulder Junction gives a once-dilapidated area of the city a fresh, urban feel and connects seamlessly to our city's bike and trail system. In the coming months and perhaps years, we have no doubt this part of our city will continue to grow, progress, and flourish.