New company plans major construction to update the Hill
A few years down the road, the graduating class of 2007 may not recognize a place they once knew so well.
The Hill is likely to undergo a major makeover and changes may happen sooner than previously thought. With the support of businesses, community members and University groups, the New Hill Company is on its way to achieving a massive reconstruction plan. Aside from trash, graffiti and deteriorating buildings, the group believes the most problematic aspect of the current Hill lack of diversity.
“I think the most serious shortcoming, and the reason that so many businesses have failed on the Hill, is because the range of goods and services that are available on the Hill has become so narrow that fewer and fewer people have any reason to go there,” said Gordon Riggle, NHC partner.
The NHC said it hopes its plan will once again make the Hill a primary destination for all Boulder residents. The plan centers around construction of multi-story, mixed-use buildings on the Hill. The NHC wants retail stores and professional services on the street level, office space on the mid-floors and residential spaces on the upper floors. The company said it hopes the living space will introduce a broader demographic of people on the Hill.
“We think the idea of young faculty living in that area would be terrific. We think the idea of alumni coming back to Boulder to retire in a condominium across the street from Norlin Library is pretty exciting and we think that there are people who would like to do that,” Riggle said.
Anthony Merino, the general manager of Half Fast Subs, said the Hill could use a “facelift” and is optimistic about redevelopment plans.
“All I hope for the Hill is good things,” Merino said. “I hope whatever their plans are that they keep everybody in mind and that it’s going to bring people back to the Hill in a good way.”
Mark Heinritz, part owner of the Sink, said he thinks changes to the Hill would be positive and hopes redevelopment will help the declining bar business. Heinritz said the aging buildings on the Hill are in need of improvements.
Some Hill merchants are receptive to expanding parking on the Hill.
“In the right location (a new parking development) would be a very, very useful thing on the Hill,” Merino said. “It would definitely encourage people to come up here more and not just the students and the people who live up here.”
The NHC is certainly not opposed to outside help, critiques and suggestions. The New Hill Advisory Group was formed to receive accurate input from stakeholders in the Hill development.
The advisory board is representatives from nine groups having an immediate and direct interest in the future of the Hill. The groups represented include the Greek community, non-Greek student Hill residents, CU faculty, CU administration, CU Tri-executive, the University Hill Neighbors Association, the Hill Alliance and churches and synagogues on the Hill.
The NHC held 10 meetings with stakeholders and other groups to help with their urban design study of the entire commercial district.
The group hopes to complete the seven month study by the end of March. It will then share its analysis with the City of Boulder. While the group’s main focus is the completion of the study, the NHC cannot help but look to the future.
“Our long term goal is to create a new Hill where people, a very diverse set of people, enjoy living, shopping, working, and relaxing,” Riggle said. “We think the Hill could be a better place than it is today, for all those things, for a lot more people.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Elizabeth Cuje at Elizabeth.Cuje@thecampuspress.com.