by Joshua Lindenstein
Published In Real Estate Today’s News
BOULDER – The former Twin Peaks Mall and former Butterball turkey plant gain most of the attention when it comes to redevelopment in Longmont.
But part of the city’s vision for revitalizing the south end of downtown around the turkey plant site also has to do with a broader plan to revamp the area along the St. Vrain River throughout much of town.
Speaking at BizWest’s Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference on Thursday at the University of Colorado, Longmont redevelopment director David Starnes said the St. Vrain Blueprint is an effort by the city to define a vision for the river corridor from Hover Street to Martin Street, planning for resiliency for an area that was ravaged by the 2013 flood, and also focusing on economic development opportunities.
Starnes said that in many areas around the river, it’s hard to tell it’s there unless you walk along it. Buildings along the banks now are faced away from the river.
“We want to activate this space and really make it attractive to people looking at it when they’re running, biking and walking along the corridor, and providing retail and commercial services as part of the investment,” Starnes said.
Much like in Longmont, where Village at the Peaks is under construction and the Butterball plant will soon be demolished, other cities in the area are seeing major commercial projects boom.
If 2013 was the year of area planning departments getting deluged with applications for new projects, 2014 has been the year of seeing all of those projects come out of the ground.
In downtown Boulder alone, no fewer than six are currently underway, most notably the 160,000-square-foot Pearl West development at the former site of the Daily Camera newspaper. That’s not to mention the work going on around the intersection of 30th and Pearl streets and other areas of town.
In Louisville, 55 townhomes are under construction as part of the first phase of the Downtown East Louisville, or DELO, project. The second phase, which includes 130 housing units and 30,000 square feet of retail and office space, is under review with the city’s planning department.
But Louisville economic development director Aaron DeJong said there are some major projects still to come there in 2015, particularly in the Colorado Technology Center, which has seen a renaissance of new building over the past year or two. Denver-based developer Etkin Johnson – which opened a spec flex/industrial building there this year where WhiteWave Foods recently leased 55,000 square feet for research and development space – has two more spec buildings on tap for next year. One is a 136,000-square-foot building, and the other is a 59,000-square-foot space.
“We think the market’s on the upturn in the CTC,” DeJong said.
Lafayette community development director Phil Patterson, meanwhile, said his town is seeing a lot of movement on projects in its downtown core.
And even in Erie, which has been booming with new residential projects for the past two decades, economic development coordinator Paula Mehle cited a new King Soopers-anchored shopping center expected to break ground in the spring along Highway 7 at Sheridan Boulevard, as well as a craft-brewery-boosted revitalization of its own downtown, as signs that the city is beginning to come into its own on the commercial side of the equation.
“So things are starting to pick up,” Mehle said.