A study session of the City Council on Tuesday offered a peek at what getting it right may look like in the eyes of the planners and elected leaders tasked with turning the site, which the city purchased a year ago from Boulder Community Hospital for $40 million, into a community benefit.
The council showed a desire to investigate using the land, which sits just west of Broadway along Alpine and Balsam streets, to build a mix of housing types for different income levels, city offices and commercial space that includes bars and restaurants — all in a pedestrian-oriented layout.
The ongoing Alpine-Balsam conversation takes place within the context of a simultaneous exploration into the future of Broadway from University Hill to Iris.
At one point in the study session, Councilman Sam Weaver asked planners whether the city might inquire into a gondola as part of the Broadway plan. Chief Urban Designer Jim Robertson said that could be one of a number of tools Boulder looks at once it has actually solidified the city vision for the corridor.
As an early step in the broad redevelopment of the former Boulder Community Hospital site on Broadway, Boulder plans to spend about $8 million to renovate one of the site’s buildings and use it for city offices. When the city bought the hospital site from BCH, which is now located in east Boulder, in December 2015 for $40 million, it acquired roughly 355,000 square feet of facilities and 800 parking spaces on a total of 8.8 acres. In assessing what it had bought, the city determined that one of the facilities — the Brenton Building at 1136 Alpine St. — is in “very good condition” and primed for long-term use. … Boulder is in the process of collecting public feedback on possible uses for the site. This phase, which the city is calling “vision planning,” is scheduled to be follow by a drafted site plan later this year.
January 18th is a very important meeting about the future of the former Boulder Community Hospital site at Balsam and Broadway. The City planners are hosting an “interactive community workshop” which you can read about HERE.
The early envisioning of possible uses for this site is very important: citizens should demand that the City use the property it already owns (like Alpine-Balsam) for affordable housing, co-ops, high-density, etc. Why is that important? Because if they don’t, then all these things will wind up in our neighborhoods instead.
The former hospital site is ideal because it’s not really in a neighborhood, per se. Three of its four sides are not residential zoning, and its fourth side, across Balsam, is abutted by only five houses, two of which are on double lots, with the extra lot buffering them from Balsam and the hospital site. While not perfect, this former hospital site is better than most other possibilities we’ve seen. Particularly if doing the City’s “experimental” housing there will offload some of the pressure to do it inside neighborhoods.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 18, 5:30 to 8:00 PM,
Where: First Presbyterian Church (1820 15th St.) see map
The City’s Notice for this event:
Members of the community are coming together to shape the vision for Alpine-Balsam, the project to redevelop the Boulder Community Health (BCH) – Broadway Campus site, which the city purchased in 2015.
Join a community workshop to brainstorm and weigh different uses of the Alpine-Balsam site.
The activities will use the following preliminary set of guiding principles, which are based on site analysis and community input collected to date:
- Create a place with a vibrant mix of uses
- Build in affordability and sustainability
- Respect and respond to the site’s physical environment
Learn more about the project, review community feedback and preliminary guiding principles, and see how you can get involved by visiting the Alpine-Balsam project website.