Mitchell sells hostel, to focus on Nederland
The hostel, at 1107 12th St., was closed last summer and now is occupied by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. A company owned by Mitchell, Boulder International Hostel Ownership LLC, sold the building to 1107 12th LLC, according to property records.
Mitchell, 74, said he is leaving the hostel business partly because his wife wants him to retire and because his adult daughters are not interested in running it. He had owned the Boulder International Hostel since 1971.
"I loved the career," Mitchell said. "I certainly shed a tear parting with it, but my pocket book didn't."
Mitchell said the new owners are investors based in Boulder but could not name them, citing a nondisclosure agreement. He believes they intend to renovate or redevelop the property into student housing. The old hostel is an 11,687-square-foot building on 0.42 acres and was built in 1947, according to public records.
The Hill has seen a number of old properties redeveloped into student housing in the past few years. Redevelopment plans for the old hostel have not been posted by the Boulder Planning Department.
Mitchell has redevelopment plans of his own. Through his ownership of Nederland Central Business Redevelopment LLC, Mitchell owns several buildings and land near the intersection of Colorado Highway 119 and East First Street in central Nederland. Tenants include 1st Street Pub, he said.
Mitchell said he will host open houses on consecutive Sundays - March 17, March 24 and March 31 - to discuss his plans. He wants the new construction to meet the needs of Nederland residents. Construction will be phased so that tenants can stay in business during the building, he said.
The Hill and Nederland are areas with very distinct personalities, and Mitchell said he loves them both.
"They're worlds apart, and they're 20 miles away," Mitchell said.
Changes to the hostel industry and the Hill also played a hand in his decision. Traffic at the hostel has declined in recent years, as the core clientele of young Europeans have become able to afford hotels.
The client mix changed, he said, with more homeless people looking for a place to stay.
"We accommodated them, but that really wasn't the purpose," he said. "There was an element that was abusing us."
Dealing with drunken students on the Hill, the nightly mess they made in the commercial and residential area and the headache of being caught between residential property owners and business owners was enough, he said.
Mitchell is a member of the University Hill Commercial Area Management Commission, and has been a strong advocate of creating a special tax district in the residential area around the Hill that would pay for public improvements and trash pickup.
The vast majority of property owners, management companies and bar owners were responsible and good people, he said, but never seemed to be in agreement about what the Hill needed.
"I got tired of being square in the middle of the conflict," he said.
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