City staff recommends demolishing events center
Last Updated: 16:42 April 16, 2014
Staff will provide council with an update at Wednesday night's city council meeting on an analysis of the event center facilities that was conducted over the winter by a team of consultants led by Boulder-based architecture and design firm Workshop8.
The event center at 5706 Arapahoe Ave., which is the former home of A Spice of Life Events Center, was significantly damaged in September's flood. Spice of Life still operates its kitchen for its catering business out of the facility, but had to shut its event center business down. The company recently announced that it will manage a new events space in the future home of the Boulder History Museum in downtown Boulder.
In a memo to council, city staff notes that the aging 18,000-square-foot building is outdated and inefficient, resulting in highly inefficient energy systems and numerous code violations related to building systems, not to mention the large presence of asbestos and mold.
The consulting team led by Workshop8 provided the city with six scenarios for addressing the facility that ranged from simply repairing the building to pre-flood condition at a price tag of $213,555 to demolishing the structure and building a new event center, restaurant and golf clubhouse along with improvements to the parking lot, golf course and driving range at a cost of $6.7 million.
Parks and Recreation planning manager Jeff Haley on Wednesday said that simply repairing to pre-flood conditions or even flood-proofing the structure, which sits in the floodplain and has poor drainage, would be putting "a Band-Aid" on the larger issues the facility has.
A third scenario - renovating the structure to full code compliance while also making flood repairs and mitigation - would cost about $2.9 million. But pre-flood revenue generated from the facility, largely from leasing the event center and kitchen to Spice of Life, were only about $6,000 per month, meaning there isn't a lot of potential for future excess cash for such upgrades.
Scenario F from the consultants involves the $6.7 million option, with a scenario E including everything in scenario F except for the new events center. E would cost about $3.4 million.
"There's a lot of community support for this structure," Haley said. "Definitely in the long term either scenario E or F would be desirable to complete the structure. Unfortunately, currently we don't have the capital funds to construct something like that."
That's why staff is recommending Scenario D, a $609,550 plan to demolish the existing event center and repair the snack bar that is used by golf patrons, while adding new restrooms for golfers. Staff is recommending that option be paid for with a "pay as you go" capital financing strategy that the city is considering as part of its 2015 financial planning. The strategy would entail raising additional funds for capital projects throughout the city through a 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent increase on sales and use taxes, a hike that would have to be approved by voters in November.
Scenario D, Haley said, would rid the city of the potential safety hazards and repair costs of a dilapidated building, while also buying officials time to decide what long-term plan, like scenarios E or F, they want to enact for the site. The staff memo to council said one option for financing a new structure would be some sort of public-private partnership.
Haley said there is no set timeline for when city council might decide which option to ultimately pursue, and noted that figuring out the capital financing piece is really the next step in the process.
More breaking news...
Boulder Brands to discuss 2Q earnings Aug. 7
Colo. State Forest Service wins wood-energy grant
The webcast will begin at 7:30 a.m. Mountain Time and will be a listen-only format.
Regional unemployment rates outperform state
The grant will be used to establish wood-energy
Broomfield County saw its