Longmont’s residential dream
We’ve seen it in Denver. We’ve seen it in Boulder. We’ve seen it in Louisville. Soon, if boosters of downtown Longmont have their say, we’ll see it in that city as well.
As writer Elizabeth Gold notes in this edition of Distinctive Homes of the Boulder Valley, Longmont officials have made creation of new residential units a priority for downtown. They view housing as integral to creation of a prosperous and exciting urban center, and they want to capture some of the same type of revitalization that has occurred in lower downtown Denver or downtown Boulder.
Residents bring energy and money. Their dollars help revitalize historic buildings or help build new ones. They shop in local stores. They frequent downtown arts venues. They dine out in area restaurants. Their friends come to visit.
Longmont wants more of them. One project soon to be under way in the city is the Roosevelt Park Apartments, originally slated to include for-sale townhomes but now planned as rental apartments. The $20 million project will bring 115 apartments to the city’s core, with groundbreaking in October. It will be located on Longs Peak Avenue, between Main and Coffman streets.
Residential space in a downtown can take many forms. Denver, for example, includes both new construction of high-end condos or apartments and conversion of historic warehouses to loft apartments. (Anyone who walked LoDo’s streets 20 years ago would be amazed at the transformation.)
While the Roosevelt Park project will not be lofts, its success could encourage developers to consider conversion of some of Longmont’s downtown buildings to include lofts, complete with their exposed ductwork and beams, open floor plans, high ceilings and other blends of the modern and historic.
Pursuit of residents makes sense. Longmont has maintained a remarkable vitality in its downtown compared with many cities, probably because U.S. Highway 287 takes travelers right through the area via Main Street. Retail, office and restaurant choices remain in abundance, although some upgrades are needed.
One example is the ongoing alleyscape improvements, making alleys more attractive and pedestrian-friendly. Similar projects have occurred in Fort Collins.
As Longmont works to develop a transit-oriented development and redevelop the former Butterball turkey plant at First Avenue and Main Street, residential is likely to be a key component.
Longmont has a lot of advantages in its efforts to bring young, urban-oriented professionals to the city’s core. The city is a hub for large manufacturers, with a highly educated work force, many of whom might welcome living in a downtown location.
And Longmont is far more affordable than the city just to the southwest. Whereas some young professionals might be priced out of a loft, condo or apartment in Boulder, Longmont could be a viable option. Its stable of historic properties and walkable downtown streets should make it attractive for prospective buyers or renters.
It will be interesting to see whether Longmont succeeds in its lofty ambitions in the years ahead. But, with all the advantages the city’s downtown has to offer, I’m betting that it’s well on its way.
Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-440-4950 or via email at email@example.com.
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