Chicago firms buy major stake in S’PARK development in Boulder

BOULDER — Two Chicago firms have purchased a major stake in the redevelopment of the former Sutherlands lumber yard site at 3390 Valmont Road, effectively buying out the Sutherland family’s stake in the $100 million mixed-use “S’PARK” project that is slated for demolition work to begin in the coming months.

Real estate investment firm Kinship Capital and investment firm/developer The John Buck Co., formed a new joint venture with current S’PARK developer Element Properties of Boulder that in late December paid a combined $18.5 million for the properties at 3390 Valmont Road and 3195 Bluff St. The joint venture, under the entity Spark Boulder Owner LLC, paid Sutherland Bldg Materials Shopping Centers Inc. $13.5 million for the 3390 Valmont site, according to Boulder County property records. Spark Boulder Owner LLC paid Element, meanwhile, $5 million for the 3195 Bluff property that Element had bought for $2.6 million in mid-2014.

Kinship is now the majority owner of S’PARK, short for Sutherland Park. John Buck and Element hold minority stakes in the new joint venture and will serve as co-developers of the project. Element also remains owner of 3155 Bluff St., a parcel bought in 2014 for $2.4 million that is slated to become S’PARK West along with the parcel at 3085 Bluff St.

“I think (two national firms) are going to help Element Properties out a lot in terms of capability,” Element principal Chris Jacobs said in a phone interview.

Element gained planning board approval for S’PARK in September. The project is slated to include roughly 126,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space, in addition to between 144 and 159 market-rate apartments and 32 permanently affordable apartments. Separately, S’PARK West is slated for a mix of 69 market-rate and permanently affordable townhomes. Developers have been in discussions with Boulder’s Upslope Brewing on opening a brewpub at S’PARK, though a representative for John Buck Co., said a deal is yet to be finalized on that front.

“S’PARK promises to be an incredible place for Boulder,” Element Properties’ Scott Holton said in a prepared statement. “With this great new development team in place, we look forward to partnering with the Boulder community to see this project to completion and into the future.”

Kevin Hites, chief investment officer of John Buck Co., said in a phone interview Wednesday that the plan is to begin demolition of the former lumberyard structures, as well as infrastructure work, in the first quarter of this year. The few small-business tenants left at the site, he said, have been on month-to-month leases and will move out once demo begins.

Developers are aiming for vertical construction to begin in the middle of this year, with the first residences and commercial space delivered in late 2017. Don Misner and Joe Heath of Jones Lang LaSalle will handle the office leasing, developers said.

S’PARK marks the first development in Colorado for Kinship, which has been active in the Chicago, San Francisco and Florida markets. But Kinship principal Nick Thomson said via phone interview that he’s hoping to grow the firm’s presence along the Front Range.

“We’ve identified Colorado as a place where we want to be long-term owners of high-quality real estate like S’PARK,” said Thomson, who earned an architecture degree from the University of Colorado Boulder in the 1990s. “We think the fundamentals of the Boulder market are really outstanding in the short, medium and long-term.”


View original article here