By Joshua Lindenstein
BOULDER – Developers have submitted to the city of Boulder amended plans for the former Golden Buff Lodge hotel site to make the project fall in line with the new hotel franchises slated to go there.
Those hotels include an Embassy Suites on the west side of the site and a Hilton Garden Inn on the east side. Both brands are owned by Hilton.
Denver-based NAI Shames Makovsky is partnering with Boulder developer Lou DellaCava’s LJD Enterprises on redevelopment of the site, which also includes the former Eads Newsstand property at the northwest corner of 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard. In addition to Shames Makovsky building the hotels, DellaCava is building a 42,000-square-foot office building there. There will also be some ground-floor retail and restaurant space in the development, as well as underground parking.
“In order to get a franchise in place, (the plans) all had to be approved by the franchise,” said Barry Gilbert, development manager for NAI Shames Makovsky.
A year ago, local developer Scott Pedersen attained approval from the city for the redevelopment, which at the time called for 361 hotel rooms. He also was under contract to purchase the Golden Buff property at 1725 28th St. from the Boeve family, who owned and operated the hotel since 1958. Pedersen eventually brought NAI Shames Makovsky on as a partner in the project before selling the entitlements and contract on the land to NAI Shames Makovsky outright.
Shames Makovsky closed on the $10 million purchase of 1725 28th St. in October. DellaCava, meanwhile, owns the adjacent former Eads site at 1715 28th.
The amendments to the plans approved last year meant going through the entitlement process once again.
Most of the plans Pedersen had in place remain in place. The new plans call for a total of 375 rooms. Gilbert said most of the changes came in tweaking the configuration of the east hotel to fit Hilton’s model. Rather than a large U configuration, that hotel’s density is pushed a bit toward 28th Street, opening up the center of the overall site a little more where a new street, 27th Place, will cut through from Canyon.
The footprint for the office building also changed slightly, though the size remained the same.
“It’s very similar,” Gilbert said. “We just changed the layout of the hotels.”
DellaCava said architects are in the process of responding to initial comments on the new plans by city staff, and Gilbert said the total number of hotel rooms could still come down a bit before plans are set in stone.
Developers are slated to go before the planning board for site review March 6. If approved, city council would have a month to call up the project for further consideration. Once that hurdle is cleared, developers could progress through technical document review and the permit process.
Building is slated to begin by the end of the year, with complete build-out of the project expected by sometime in 2016.
“It’s a very nice project,” Gilbert said, noting that the Embassy Suites includes a conference center and meeting rooms. “It fulfills a need for hotel rooms up there. Aesthetically it looks good.”
DellaCava has been in on trying to redevelop the overall site since 2004 when he purchased the Eads property for $960,000. In the mid-2000s, he and Urban Frontier Inc. had plans for redevelopment that called for 284,000 square feet of office and retail space. Those fell through, he said, when the economy went south and Urban Frontier lost its equity partner.
“I think it will happen this time,” DellaCava said. “(Shames Makovsky) is highly financially capable.”