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A little background on Alpine Balsam: It's an 8.8-acre site, formerly the BCH hospital campus. City bought it in 2015 for $40M with the purpose of consolidating its city offices and staff.
Something I didn't know until I read the meeting packet: The city maintains more than 380(!) buildings and structures throughout Boulder. (Some of them are just small little things, of course.)
Two things driving the vision for Alpine Balsam: Mix of uses, appropriate density that makes sense for the future; and housing before all else.
BCH will be vacating in April rather than May.
Michele Crane taking over with the Pavilion renovation. The two qs for council: Should staff keep looking at funding for the renovation? Do they support spending an extra $9M to add a floor to the Pavilion?
Three buildings city wants to consolidate into Pavilion: New Britain, Park Central (which are old, outdated and in the high hazard flood zone) and Center Green Drive (which is leased for close to $1M a year)
Add'l prob with PC and NB bldgs: too small, non-ADA compliant; major repairs needed to keep elevators running and temperature controls working. Estimated backlog of $1.5-4M to take care of all those issues.
bc they are in the flood zone, investments into the building are limited by law.
Two options for Pavilion renovation:

Option 1: Renovation of 3 stories and a basement; 75,000 total square feet, including a 3,000-square-foot "customer hub" and cafe, plus 2,200 sq ft of "shared space"

Cost: $48 million

Capacity: 260-275 full-time employees
Option 2: Renovation of 3 stories, basement and addition of a 1,400-square-foot partial fourth floor that will include a 4,000-square-foot outdoor roof terrace; 93,000 total sq ft

Cost: $57 million ($9M extra; 18,000 additional sq ft)

Capacity: 260-300 FTE
Young asks why only 25 more staff could be accommodated when 18K extra sq ft is being added.
Crane: At the end of the day, we're saying we can accommodate base 260 staff; everything above that is a question of amenities v. staff
In 21 years, renovation will pay for itself in avoided leased/ops&maintenance costs Boulder would spend on Park Central, New Britain and Center Green Drive.
In 50 years, Pavilion renovation will be $100M cheaper.
Q from Brockett: Are you counting inflation or escalation in those?
Crane: We're counting on 3% increases every year; based on our costs at Center Green.
There could also be some retail on the site, at least in the form of a cafe (like the one in the library). And a 250-person event space.
Q from Jones: Is event space included in sq ft calculation?
Crane: Yes
Renovation would help make "advances to climate goals which are really only going to be made with investments in our infrastructure," Crane says.
Next steps: Funding plan and renovation timeline by Q2 of this year back to council, along with a plan to vacate New Britain and Park Central.
Qs from Jones: You said we wouldn't start construction until 2020. Can you explain that?
Crane: Thinking on 2022 is it's probably a realistic timeline for what it would take to design and go through our planning process, to actually get building permits.
Crane: "When funding is available, it will start the clock on when we can start design."
Jones: If we say no to this, what will happen to New Britain and Park Central? By what year do we need to get ppl out?
Crane: In 5 years.
Carlisle: This is a plan for the next 50 years. Are staff levels going to stay the same? We've got remote working, etc.? How much will it cost to take down PC and NB buildings?
$2M is the answer to the last one
Crane: This won't solve all our consolidation needs. (Boulder was looking to consolidate 14 buildings in total, but these three were highest priority.)
Carlisle: Hardly any city employees live in Boulder. I'm concerned about bringing these ppl in to a "relatively calm spot."
Crane: We see opportunities out east with development and transit. This won't be the only consolidated hubs.
Nagle speaks! First time tonight: Are you going to be doing transportation or traffic studies at all?
(It's in the next part of the presentation, so we'll wait for an answer on that one.)
Morzel asks the same q as Carlisle, but to city mgr Jane Brautigam: Do you see possibility of remote workers or shared offices?
Brautigam: We already accommodate it. I don't see in near future that that's going to be a majority of our workers being able to do that bc so much of what we do is interaction with the public, and we can't do that remotely.
"I don't think it's going to be as impactful as council would like in terms of reducing building sizes."
Morzel: How accurate is the $13M estimate to deconstruct the hospital?
Crane: Coming back in April to "put a sharper pencil to that" and a more clear estimate, once financial plan is done.
Q from Brockett: What's the back-of-the-envelope calculation on how feasible it is to pay for the additional fourth floor?
Crane: We're doing the financial analysis now. (That's one of the qs before council tonight is whether or not to explore it.)
Brockett: So there hasn't been a back-of-the-envelope calculation?
Brautigam: No. We really need to do this. It's going to compete with some of other things council wants to do. But this is an important one bc we've got 2 bldgs that have to come down in 5 yrs.
Brockett: It's potentially a really positive vision for our city. Hopefully the numbers work out. Please do the analysis
Morzel, Weaver echo that.
Carlisle: Where is the $ going to come from? Go come up with answers but that doesn't mean I'm going to support it.
"It brings out the curmudgeon in me, looking at the sort of grandiosity that will go into this."

Would "much rather have something more definitive" than meeting spaces, community space.
Nagle echoes Carlisle. Plus "concerned about lack of traffic studies." Residents here are concerned about how this is moving forward, "didn't know" this was moving forward. "A 100-person survey is not robust."
Young supports this project. Already traffic there from the hospital, and staff traffic to the Brenton building nearby. Reminder: This was bought to be able to replace the flood-zone buildings.
Jones: "I'm a yes-yes, and with some enthusiasm"
Morzel: This was a working hospital for many, many years with patients coming and going as well as many employees. It would be nice to have the numbers on the site so we can remember previous daily trips.
Young is suggesting a multi-cultural center on the site.
Carlisle: You mentioned that this had had extensive community engagement. Would you remind me what that was?
Jim Robertson: I was involved in vision planning. City conducted a series of meetings in fall 2016 to get a sense of how the history of this place fit into the community.
"It was an early type of 'what does this mean to you?' visioning."
Spring of 2017, another round of meetings. Plus surveys.
That was for the vision plan. What's happening now is the Area Plan.
Planning board supportive of the potential housing at the site. Two options for configuration, wherein the major difference is where green space goes: in the center of the site or along Balsam.
Two variations of each option, based on differing densities of housing and offices (So more offices = less housing and vice versa)
Q from Carlisle: Did you send out postcards or notifications to surrounding residents?
Yes is the answer.
Robertson: if you go to bouldercolorado.gov/planning, there's a link to sign up for the Boulder planning newsletter.

Much grumbling from the audience as staff goes over its engagement work.
All scenarios for where things will go include a new north-south vehicle route and a north-south ped and bike connection.
BoCo has expressed interest in co-locating some services at the site. Commish Deb Gardner is here speaking about that now.
We're "looking particularly at our north Broadway site; those buildings are at the end of their life."
Gardner on co-locating with city: "If we were able to do that, we would be able to build housing on our north Broadway site."
References a central hub BoCo did in Longmont, I think co-locating with the city there. It's right on Main St; I walk through there every time I go visit my friends and we walk downtown. It has the loveliest bushes and plants; so pleasant to walk through.
Morzel: Some of the county buildings probably need to be landmarked. How are you going to address that?
James Butler, BoCo building services: The old county hospital is historic. We need 120K sq ft of office-like space to accommodate health and human services.
Gardner: What we're trying to do tonight is definitively send the message that we're interested. We'd like to have those conversations.
"We're not looking for a handout."
Q from Young: Of the 120K sq ft you need, how much public-facing space do you need?
Butler: 120K is similar to Longmont hub. Two-thirds of it are public facing
Young: So roughly 80K?
Butler: Yep
Jones: If we say OK, how does that work on the county's end? How best would we include you in a public discussion in this?
Butler: It's easier for us to build a new building while we still have stuff in other buildings. It's easier to allow Broadway site to stay as-is for 5-7 yrs
Sorry for the 10-min radio silence. We're talking flood work. Council's basic feedback is that they can't weigh in until they know more.
"There's a terrific irony in moving the New Britain building out of the floodplain" but suggesting designing to a 100-yr floodplain on this site. On CU South, we chose 500-yr.
Staff is looking at 500-yr options as well.
Weaver: We're taking those buildings down bc they're in the high hazard flood zone; not a floodplain. Those buildings become serious life safety hazards. Reason we chose 500yr in CU South is it protects thousands of ppl downstream.
Edward Stafford, is doing floodplain 101: High hazards is those areas most hazardous to human occupancy, based on depth and velocity.
Alpine Balsam is not high hazard, though some is designated as conveyance (aka floodway)
That allows 100-yr flood to pass thru with no more than 6in of flowing water.
Flood area at Alpine Balsam is "considerably different" than Boulder Creek. So a 100-yr or 500-yr flood there looks very different.
Jones: We allow building in the 100-yr floodplain, all over town.
Carlisle: I'm just pointing out the irony.
Nagle asks about traffic. 'This type of density is unprecedented in this area."
Initial traffic impact study showed that overall daily traffic is less than what hospital was generating when still in operation.
Brockett q: Area is very well served by bus lines.Have we looked into a shuttle that can transport employees/residents down to the main bus station?
It's being looked at, says Kalani Pahoa, Urban Designer, Planning Department
Carlisle: We've gotten lots of emails recently. One of the emails was a request to go to Balsam at 4 in the afternoon and see how it's backed up. I've been there at that time; compared to what it used to be, it's really backed up.
"It was never like that, in my recollection, with hospital traffic. I'm concerned when there's essentially nothing there now."
Lots of grumbling from the audience as we talk about traffic. Disbelief at Brockett's claim that he takes Balsam every day and that it flows smoothly often; also audible protests when staff says site should reflect Transportation Master Plan.
Young: Are you considering 311 Mapleton in traffic studies?
No, staff says, it's not currently in the area plan.
More sounds of disbelief from the audience. These people are *really* concerned.
It will be added into modeling.
Nagle: We've continually reduced development. Do we have any development we've reduced parking on and we can see how it works? I'm just trying to understand do we have an example?
Closest examples are downtown and Boulder Junction, but they're not direct comparisons, Pahoa says. "It's a juggling of do we want to go for transportation master plan rules, be more progressive."
Brockett: I think you're hearing from council we need more data on this. I will just mention Holiday has 1 parking space per unit, and it works out. Streets are fairly filled but not full. And we're farther away from transit.
Jones: This is a transit-oriented site. This is the corridor, so if ever we were going to pull it off. We are in a period we know transportation is shifting in the next 10-15 years, but it hasn't yet.
We're moving onto the housing discussion.
Nagle: I've been working with a lot of the neighbors; the problem is at a minimum, there's 65 neighbors in this close vicinity that some may have known about it but most had no idea this was at this stage.
"For me, the community engagement you've done is fabulous, but we're missing some things. You've got a massive amount of ppl in this neighborhood who had no idea where it's at right now."
"High-density housing isn't in line with the neighborhood. Speaking on their behalf, that's who I represent now, I'm not in support of high-density housing."
"I get that this is for the entire community, but I'm really hearing it from the ppl nearby." Suggests going door-to-door, distributing flyers. "I want to go back to the drawing board. I have to represent the ppl who are writing in."
"They don't want to say no to the project, but they want to have some re-thinking."
Carlisle: Density needs to be lessened. It's going to change that area.
She's heard a rumor that housing is going to be replacing the Ideal Market area.
Now the audience (different ones from the green shirts) are reacting strongly to Carlisle and Nagle. Apparently they support more housing and density.
Brockett: Walked the site over the weekend with an "old friend" who is concerned about the project. "I think there is a way for this project to make a beautiful new part of town.... in ways that work for the neighborhood."
"If we pull number of housing down, we're going to lose that affordability."
Maybe I need to take another visit to this site, but I kind of feel like that part of town is pretty busy and dense already. I don't think of it as, like, a sleepy little corner of town that is now becoming Civic Center. There's 2 shopping centers right there! And a hospital!
Morzel talks about north Boulder and what a success that was. "I am interested in more housing."
Weaver: Pavilion and Brenton buildings are already generating traffic. Like idea of owner-occupied townhomes on 9th. Likes lots of housing for the site, too.
"Housing will have a lot to do with whether the neighborhood embraces this or not."
Jones: Site on Iris has a lot of potential for housing, so county co-location makes sense.
Jones: I'll add that in that neighborhood, there are already three-story apartment buildings. (Angry muttering from the green shirts)
Second request for fountains from council. (Morzel and Jones)
"This is a chance to build a great public space, to live out our (transportation priorities.) I think it's time to start.... This should be a really fun, interesting project that brings ppl together."
"This is what happens. Ppl follow it, then other ppl wake up. Now that they have, let's get everybody involved and make it work."
Brockett: could do mixed use at Iris/Broadway. "There's no retail between Quince and Balsam."
Staff is wrapping up council feedback: Support for flexibility on the east;
Support for housing in a range of ways in the west and central parts of the site. Some supported density and types, others looking for something lower (Nagle, Carlisle)
"We can try to maneuver that, but it’s been pretty clear that will affect yields and ability to provide types of housing and support the types of folks we’d like to house there." Gatza says
Brockett says council just needs better visualization.
That might help the public get on board, too, council says.
That's a wrap, folks. Good night. See You Next Tuesday.
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