Mixed-use, creative-focused SPARK development proposed for Sutherlands lumberyard in Boulder

A local development team is proposing a 680,000-square-foot, mixed-used project — consisting of apartments, offices, “creative” retail and restaurant spaces, and a boutique-style hotel in four-to-five-story buildings — at the former Sutherlands lumberyard in the Boulder Junction area.

The team led by Scott Holton, of Element Properties, and Adrian Sopher, of Sopher Architects, submitted concept plans this week to the city of Boulder for SPARK, a development that could span nearly 8 acres at 3390 Valmont Road, 3195 Bluff St. and 3200 Bluff St. in Boulder.

SPARK — short for Sutherland Park — is being proposed in conjunction with property owner Bob Sutherland, who shuttered his longtime lumberyard in 2010.

“Boulder’s center of gravity has been shifting eastward over the last few years and SPARK will finally provide a place for startups, entrepreneurs, artists and creatives to live, eat, work and play,” Holton said in a statement. “In the post-recession era of development, other cities have benefited from creative live-work environments that Boulder just hasn’t seen yet.”

The proposed project includes co-working spaces for entrepreneurs, office space for established firms, art and industrial spaces designed for collaboration, live-work spaces and a row of micro-restaurants, he said.

Plans submitted to the city show a proposed five-story hotel with ground-floor retail and restaurant offerings, a four-story flex building for industrial and office uses, a four-story apartment building with a rooftop pool, two four-story commercial buildings and a four-story mixed-use, commercial office building with structured parking.

The project also is the designated location of a future RTD commuter rail train platform stop for Boulder.

Variances proposed in the plans include requests to raise the height limit to 55 feet and five stories from the by-right 38 feet and three stories, and to rezone some of the properties to allow for uses such as flex space.

The types of offerings, the inclusion of a public plaza and the design — notably the “modern architecture” — will help foster creativity, Holton and Sopher wrote in a statement accompanying the concept plan.

“SPARK responds to our community’s call to create a neighborhood center in Boulder Junction,” Holton and Sopher wrote.

If SPARK gains the necessary city approvals, construction could start by the end of 2014, the developers said.

SPARK sits within Boulder Junction, a transit-oriented redevelopment project covering 160 acres surrounding Pearl Parkway just east of 30th Street.

Current projects under construction within Boulder Junction include Depot Square at Boulder Junction, a private mixed-use development featuring an RTD bus station, a hotel, apartments and a restaurant or pub, and Salona at 3100 Pearl Parkway, a 319-unit apartment complex.


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