Published: Sept. 1, 2016
Site identification overlay

The city manager and staff will ask the Boulder City Council next week to consider a collaborative plan with the university to develop a new hotel and conference center in the heart of the city. The center will have the potential to help revitalize The Hill commercial district and create a modern gathering place for academics, researchers and the community.

With the new facility, CU will be able to compete for the highest-quality international meetings and conferences in support of its academic and research missions. It would also provide Boulder with a much-needed meeting venue for business, nonprofit and community events.

CU Boulder and the city would like to see the new venue built on university-owned land in the vicinity of Broadway and Grandview Avenue. The new facility would feature a 250-room hotel, a 15,000-square-foot ballroom, individual meeting rooms, underground parking and other amenities.

Both city and university planners believe the facility will spur revitalization efforts in The Hill commercial district and establish better pedestrian corridors between the new hotel and conference center, downtown Boulder and CU’s main campus.

“Any way you look at it, it’s a win-win for the university and the city. We look forward to collaborating with Boulder on a project expected to be an economic and culture asset for the community,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “We expect this new venue to bring distinctive groups of researchers, business leaders and international visitors who are drawn to the innovative and unique culture of the university and the city.”

According to the MOU, the city would provide CU with tax incentives to ensure that a planned ballroom would be large enough to accommodate community events. In return, the university would initiate a request for proposals or RFP process seeking ideas from private firms to design, build, finance and operate the new facility. The plan will provide a unique opportunity for a public-private partnership, an innovative way to bring large capital construction projects to fruition.

Studies commissioned and financed by the city and CU concluded that Boulder is underserved in the realm of meeting spaces and hotels compared to other communities of similar size and demographics.

“Boulder is an attractive destination for thousands of visitors who trek here every year to visit students, family and friends. This facility would be a strong addition for small-to-medium sized conferences and meetings in our community,” said CU Real Estate Director Jeff Lipton.

New venue would give CU, city world-class facility for academic, research conferences and meetings