Re: Pearl Place Site Review (Planning Board Nov. 6, 2014)

Dear Planning Board Members:

At our regular board meeting on Dec. 1, 2014, we discussed at length the above project (LUR2014-00035, located in an L-shaped configuration around the Chase Bank Building situated on the SW corner of 30th and Pearl). At 55 feet and 325,000 square feet of floor space, Pearl Place deserves your major attention.

While we appreciate Planning Board concept review changes to preserve and enhance the east-west drainageway traversing the site, we still have some major concerns:

1. Pearl Place has displaced a number of much-loved cafes/retail outlets/commercial storefronts that will be a net loss to the community. In a 325,000 square feet project, isn’t it reasonable to ask the developer to provide several 500 square feet retail outlets, not only to serve the community, but the many office workers on site? Shouldn’t such units have “affordable” rents so that they will draw tenants with the most daily appeal to office personnel and surrounding residents? Wouldn’t this add to the value of the building? And wouldn’t such spaces provide a pedestrian draw to people from other parts of Boulder? The Boulder Junction area, in a sense, is becoming a “second downtown” and as such should act and look as a downtown should. Office spaces alone, even with glass along the facades, are pretty boring by themselves. To this end, site review criteria specifically call for new projects to create a lively, interesting pedestrian environment.

2. A building of this size will generate many auto trips per day; Planning Board should carefully scrutinize the developer’s proposed Transportation Demand Management Plan to make sure that both nearby and distant travel patterns are not disrupted. An independent, professional review of the Plan should be obtained.

3. Once the Transportation Demand Management Plan has been accepted by the Planning Board, it is critical that such plan “run with the land” and bind future owners in perpetuity to promises made. Too often in the past, such plans have been in effect for three years or less, and then it’s back to “business as usual.”

Thanks for your consideration,

Ray Bridge, co-chair
John Spitzer, Board Member

Cc: City Council