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Reve Development – Letter to Planning Board

January 25, 2016

Planning Board members:

We are writing to ask you to approve the site review application for the Reve development. The current proposal responds to the direction given by City Council at their call-up of the concept plan, and is far improved over the original concept presented.

On a general level, this development proposal does almost everything right. It proposes to add significant housing in close proximity to the new transit station, significant employment opportunities, and many shopping opportunities. It is a very important linchpin to making the entire Boulder Junction area an activated, multimodal hub for the community. The overall density is entirely consistent with both the Transit Village Area Plan and the other new development in the area, and the height of the buildings is appropriate for this location in the City. The mix of smaller housing units will help to provide relatively affordable market rate units in a location that will allow many people to meet their needs with very little need to get in a car.

We are also very supportive of the changes that have been made to the plan to make the area more human scale and not an auto-dominated space. In particular, the fact that all of the parking is underground makes the whole area much more of a pedestrian space. In addition, the single shared public access street between Solana and Reve is a great improvement over the earlier plans which showed two parallel streets. The interior plaza should be the type of activated public space that brings energy and vitality to the Boulder Junction area and serves as a gathering place for residents, employees, and visitors.

We offer a couple of suggested changes which we believe will further improve the project: First, we suggest a closer evaluation of the amount of parking proposed, to ensure that it is appropriate for the site. We suggest considering a clear set of binding TDM commitments, and a clear requirement for parking management (including unbundling and pricing) that is consistent with the Boulder Junction access and parking districts, even though part of the site is beyond the district boundary. Second, we encourage further development of the architecture at the street level. The detail on the first level of buildings is critical to a lively, dense, human scaled urban fabric. Looking at a zoomed-in view of the design of the first floor elevations, they are currently mostly unarticulated wall and sheet glass – for example, the rendering entitled 30th South of Slough. We would like to see the articulation greatly increased, with human scaled details such as awnings, blade signs, base materials, changes in the glass, warmer materials, brick detailing and other similar items used in the architectural palette to increase the perceptual connection between the pedestrian and the buildings.

In summary, we encourage you to approve the site plan review application for the Reve project. There has been a great deal of constructive discussion of this project over the last couple of years. Improvements have been made, and the project has evolved considerably to become what we believe will be an excellent addition to the Boulder Junction area. We thank you for your time and consideration of our comments.

Sincerely,
Sue Prant and Ken Hotard, co-chairs

Share your Support for Reve Below!

2016-12-17T13:17:12+00:00

4 Comments

  1. Harvey Hine January 26, 2016 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I agree with the letter, however, I would like to add that the entire architectural vocabulary needs to be evaluated and improved by the architect. These renderings show the same architectural drivel that you find all over Denver and the rest of the country. It is predictable, dated, and ugly. Boulder deserves architecture with vision and one that is true to its context. I would rather wait for a better looking building than have to see this one for the rest of my life.

  2. Anne Norwood January 26, 2016 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    We spend the winter in California, and this is the first I have heard of the Reve despite an internet subscription to the Camera. Since you are apparently sending emails to an expanded list, you need to include some expanation of what you are talking about. New people are always getting on board without any background in your project. I am one of them.

  3. Emily Axtman January 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    I definitely support this new development for its contribution to density in Boulder, however in an article on the Daily Camera states:

    “Though Rêve will include a variety of different rental housing options, for which the design team says it has not yet set prices, it will likely not be appealing to the tens of thousands of in-commuters who can’t afford Boulder.

    “Anybody who thinks these are going to be affordable is dreaming,” Appelbaum said. “They’re not.”

    Damn. That sucks.

    • Zane Selvans January 28, 2016 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      I think this really depends on what we mean by “affordable.” Lots of folks have complained about Solana not being affordable… but for folks making 80-120% of median income in Boulder, it is. Those folks do need housing here too. If we don’t have new housing options that are attractive to them, many of them are going to end up displacing folks from other housing in the city. Also, there’s about $6 million going into the city’s affordable housing fund as a result of the development. Much more affordable housing is slated for Boulder Junction — S’Park has a bunch of units, there’s the 76 units around the RTD building, and then the Pollard lot, which is controlled by the City, just across the street from Reve.

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