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Last month I wrote about how Boulder was weighing an ordinance that would raise the city’s affordable housing linkage fee on new commercial development from $12 per square foot–a fee just 16 months old and the second highest in the country–to $25, $30, or $35 per square foot. Last week, by a 6-3 vote, city council voted to raise that fee to $30. The $30 fee falls short of the country’s highest, Palo Alto’s $35. But because of the difference in the price of land in Boulder versus Palo Alto, on a percentage basis, Boulder’s new $30 fee will be much greater than Palo Alto’s fee.

Importantly, the city council also approved a “tiered system” for the fee. For example, developers of office space will pay the full $30 per square foot, while hospital space and warehouse space will pay $20 and $10 per square foot, respectively.

Only time will tell whether the new $30 fee will accomplish the city’s goal to spur residential development over commercial development without detriment to the city’s affordable housing fund.

The vote will be made official on May 1.

We’ll start in Boulder and with commercial development. In February, the Boulder City Council directed city staff to draft an ordinance that would raise the city’s affordable housing linkage fee on new commercial development from $12 per square foot to $25, $30, or $35 per square foot.  Boulder’s current $12 linkage fee is the highest such fee of any city in the country between the two coasts, with Palo Alto the highest in the country at $35.  Even so, City Council members expressed that the current fee is still low enough vis-a-vis fees on residential development to incentivize commercial development over residential development. And more commercial development without new housing only exacerbates the city’s acute jobs-housing disequilibrium.  Continue Reading Boulder County Municipalities Look to Double Affordable Housing Linkage Fees

 

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that seeks to delineate what causes a commercial real estate loan to be classified as a “high volatility commercial real estate loan,” or, as it’s more commonly referred to, as a “HVCRE loan.”  Since the rule regarding HVCRE loans was promulgated, there’s been much debate and confusion around that fundamental question.  A synopsis of HVCRE loans and the implications of HVCRE classification can be found here. Continue Reading House Passes Bill to Clarify HVCRE Rule

California Investor Buys former StorageTek/ConocoPhillips Campus in Bid for Amazon

In a bid to have Amazon select Boulder County as its much-ballyhooed second headquarters, California’s Bancroft Capital recently went under contract to purchase the 432-acre property (depicted below) in Louisville that is the former home of StorageTek.  The property is currently owned by ConocoPhillips. Bancroft also developed the Peloton project in Boulder. Continue Reading Updates from Boulder County: A Bid for Amazon, Google Buys Property, and Senior Housing

Tuesday evening the Boulder City Council unanimously approved the $9.5 million purchase of the 615-acre parcel located at 4536 N. 95th St. (pictured below) to add to the city’s 45,000-acre open space network.  The parcel is the fourth most expensive open-space parcel purchased by the city, will be one of the largest, and will become the easternmost piece of the city’s open-space network.  Because of its 1.5 miles of Boulder Creek frontage, eight ponds, mountain views, and abundant wildlife, the city believes the parcel has tremendous potential for recreational and agricultural purposes.  The city will spend approximately 18 months evaluating the parcel after acquiring it before opening it to visitors.

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