It’s been over two years since the plan to build the hotel on University Hill Plaza was released. City Council’s vote to decide whether or not to move forward with a joint development agreement for the University Hill hotel has been moved to early November. However, it’s been a long process to say the least.
The hotel itself would be a 189-room hotel and retail space that would cost over $30 million. The city wants to add $20 million to the proposal for an underground parking garage with over 200 spots.
Sarah Wiebenson, the Hill Community Development Coordinator for the City of Boulder explained to Newsteam Boulder that this hotel will provide balance. Especially during the summer months when students are gone and business is down for many of these small businesses in the area, Wiebenson said that this project could bring in more families and people who aren’t just students.
Some small business owners in that area would disagree. For stores such as Bova’s which is being forced out, this hotel could mark the end of business.
Nader Wahdan, the owner of Bova’s told Newsteam that their over 35 year old business is over once this hotel is built. He said that relocation isn’t an option for him.
Manager of the Metamorphosis Tattoo Sideshow, Jeremy Elliott, expressed frustration.
“Their [Bova’s] business is done now because you have the gas station right next door, you have Smelly Deli, then you have 7Eleven and you have Walgreens...where on The Hill can Bova’s move?” Elliott said.
The City of Boulder and the developers have both proposed relocation assistance services.
“We have ten vacancies in the historic core of the district and we’d really like to see as many businesses that can stay on The Hill and continue to serve student customers and other folks,” Wiebenson said.
However, Bova’s has little hope in attracting college students by moving farther from pedestrian activity.
Elliott said that he wasn’t too worried about his shop. He knows that it’s easier for a tattoo shop to relocate than a retail store that makes their business off of their college student customers.
“The shop owner, myself, the artist here, pretty much we care more about the small businesses and what’s happening to them than we care about anything else,” Elliott said.
The City of Boulder said that they are trying to hear input from community members and students about how they can make the hotel a net positive for the community.
Wiebenson shared that even after the hotel is built, the city will be taking input on the design to try and keep the “bohemian feel” of The Hill.
City Council is currently split on their decision to move forward with this project. The vote was postponed until November 8 to be sure that all Council members are present.