Thursday, February 05, 2009

The "New Hill": 2009 Edition

by Osman Parvez
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On Monday, the Daily Camera reported on the efforts of “The New Hill Co.”, who has created a future vision of the University Hill area.
Walsh and Riggle make up The New Hill Co. For the past three years, they’ve worked as consultants for two property owners on the Hill: Boulder Hilltop Properties, which owns 1143 and 1155 13th St., and 1314 COEU, whose principals own property between 13th and 14th streets and College and Euclid avenues.

The report the company produced — “The Hill Commercial Context Study” — envisions University Hill anchored at the north and south by larger, three- or four-story mixed-use buildings surrounding courtyards, filled in with more mixed-use development and interspersed with pedestrian-friendly walkways and amenities.

By improving the quality of the Hill’s physical spaces, they say, they would make it more welcoming to a broader spectrum of people so that it doesn’t just cater to those looking for a sandwich, a drink or a tattoo.
Basically, they want to take what’s been done in areas on Pearl and do it on the Hill. Think One Boulder Plaza.

I’m going to make some assumptions and generalizations.

First of all, I think that the Hill should primarily serve the needs of students. This makes sense practically (it’s right next to campus) and historically. It should be a place where students live and want to hang out.

Most students have limited spending money. Students are poor at managing this money, and when it’s spent, it’s usually spent on “a sandwich, a drink or a tattoo”. Therefore, most typical retail stores will have a hard time on the Hill.

I understand the reason that many of the bars were closed on the Hill and why it’s so hard to get a liquor license. The University wants to discourage drinking. What I don’t understand, is why some of the best places to eat on the Hill are hard to find and not very accessible. I don’t understand why The Sink was the only bar to stay open, and I don’t know why the Fox Theatre remains the only entertainment on the Hill.

I have no problem with yet another redevelopment effort on the Hill (look at the “Uphill battle” text box on the left of the article). I only ask that money is not wasted and things aren’t put where they don’t belong.


Construction of a mixed-use development at 1095 Canyon
This probably doesn't belong on the Hill

The initial response from the Boulder Council is to take a look at the plan. Although, before any action is taken, they will do their own research. Of course, they are more bound to serve the community and receive proper input.
"I think the efforts made to date have been collaborative, but I am also very concerned that we need a broader context in which to make this plan, and make sure that people who want to be heard are included," said Councilwoman Lisa Morzel.
There is heated discussion (that's a euphemism) in the comments of the Daily Camera article. In addition to my comments, I want to highlight some of what's already been said.

grossmg said
'timeless' design is usually a translation for 'bland & boring.' the hill belongs to the students primarily, and should be designed with their aesthetic and practical needs in mind... it's a problem that probably has a series of coordinating solutions, rather than a single vision from a single company/organization
trappist99 said
"'...they’ve worked as consultants for two property owners on the Hill: Boulder Hilltop Properties,...and 1314 COEU...'

So this 'free' study is to benefit their employers. Honest enough! but does it benefit the town?"
joeschuele said
"If [some stores] can make a go of it in this economy selling tatoos, comic books or whatever - good for them. Let the market determine the "best use" of the property, instead of a few elitist neighbors."
Kev_H said
"Now that three of the major bars have been shut down (the Rack, Tulagi's, Player's Club) and much of the retail area is struggling, they're hoping to once and for all replace the student commercial district with million dollar condos."
On the other side, 2fargob4 said
The reason businesses consistently fail is because students know they deserve better... and make their way to pearl street, which is a preferred environment.




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