|By Alicia Wallace, Daily Camera, Boulder,
Colo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 08, 2012--A local developer plans to build two new hotels in place of the 54-year-old Golden Buff Lodge and The Buff restaurant off 28th Street and Canyon Boulevard in Boulder.
Scott Pedersen, of Boulder-based Pedersen Development Group, filed a concept design package Monday with the city for the roughly $80 million project that could contribute to a potential hotel-room boom in Boulder.
Pedersen Development is under contract to purchase the Best Western Golden Buff site, 1725 28th St., and the neighboring restaurant. The sale is contingent on the proposal gaining the necessary city approvals, said Clint Folsom, a broker representing the owners of the Golden Buff Lodge.
The developer plans to raze the existing motel and restaurant and build two modern hotels -- a 212-room full-service hotel and a 137-room extended-stay hotel -- as well as a restaurant, underground parking and at least 10,000 square feet of meeting and conference space, Pedersen said.
"We think it's really a fairly simple redevelopment that entails modernizing a Boulder institution," Pedersen said. "It's time for an upgrade. ... Boulder's a Class A city and its lodging properties are, overall, Class C properties with the exception of a couple hotels in town."
The combination of a new full-service hotel and a new extended stay property -- meant to cater to business travelers -- should help the performance of the existing hotels in Boulder, Pedersen said.
Pedersen Development also is behind the Depot Square at Boulder Junction project, a proposed development that would have an underground bus station, a 140-room Hyatt hotel, 71 permanently affordable apartments and a restaurant or brewpub.
"There's a leakage of lodging tax revenues and tourism dollars to the surrounding communities -- certainly every (University of Colorado) football weekend," he said. "So what our hope is, when we get ultimately these three new properties online, we'll retain more tourism dollars."
Pedersen has a meeting scheduled Wednesday night with the Boulder Design Advisory Board. He anticipates the plans could go before the Boulder Planning Board in June.
Both the Golden Buff Lodge and The Buff will conduct business as usual throughout the planning and approval processes, said Folsom, president of Louisville-based Folsom & Co. Real Estate.
Staying in Boulder
Chris Meyer, a co-owner of The Buff, said his family-run restaurant does have an interest in working with Pedersen to stay on the site.
"It would be ideal for us to continue at the same area and same location," he said.
But whatever may come, Meyer added that it's his intention to continue operating The Buff in Boulder.
"We absolutely love business in Boulder," he said. "We have a tremendous amount of customers that we just love.
"It would absolutely be (in) our best interest to continue," Meyer said.
Nearly six years ago, Denver-based Urban Frontier and local developer Lou DellaCava proposed razing the Golden Buff Lodge and The Buff restaurant and developing a four-story mixed-use building with retail and office uses.
The mixed-use project stalled amid the economic downturn and financing crunch, Urban Frontier officials said at the time.
The Boeve family, which as operated the Golden Buff Lodge since 1958, continued to pursue the sale to the development group, but there were challenges associated with pre-leasing large-floorplate office spaces, Folsom said.
"With a hotel, that does not have a pre-leasing requirement," he said. "(Pedersen) seems to have a very good track record and that was appealing to the Boeves. They love the fact that it's going to continue as a hotel."
The building that houses Eads News & Smoke Shop will not be affected by the redevelopment. Pedersen said his firm was unsuccessful in bids to acquire that property, but have included a 30-foot shared street as a buffer in the plans to accommodate any future redevelopment of the Eads building.
If both the Golden Buff and the Depot Square projects were to move forward as proposed, and the 112-room Golden Buff Lodge were to close,
Boulder would see a net gain of 377 new hotel rooms. That number could grow to 477 if the Gunbarrel Gateway mixed-use project and hotel moves forward.
Such an influx could have a significant effect on Boulder, which has 2,200 hotel rooms, said Mary Ann Mahoney, executive director of the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"We'll have a lot of work to do," she said. "...This is pretty unusual and the cost to build in Boulder -- because the property values are more expensive, the cost to build per-room is more expensive, so the pricing (at) these new hotel rooms will be higher than their competitors in Longmont or along U.S. 36.
"But we've got the authentic destination that we can sell, so our job is to find more (group business travelers)."
The timing of the developments still could heavily tie into the lending capabilities of financial institutions, Mahoney said. The success of growing the number of Boulder hotel rooms by roughly 20 percent in a short period also could hinge on broader trends.
"Travel and tourism has been pent-up ... but the economic climate around the country will be critical to this next phase as well," she said.
The hotels would be the first built since the St. Julien Hotel & Spa, 900 Walnut St., opened in 2005.
If a hotel-room boom does occur, Boulder could benefit, Mahoney said.
"Overall, it gives the Boulder market more to sell," she said.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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