By some accounts, developers have wanted to build a hotel on a key block in downtown Boulder for as long as 40 years.

“I don’t know if it’s been that long, but I’ve been here 14 years, and I know there were discussions about it long before I got here, so I’d say it’s been at least 20 years,” Boulder City Planner Liz Hanson told But either a down market or – more often the case – a city that prides itself on discouraging development, has conspired to keep a hotel from being built on the block at 9th Street and Canyon Blvd. in the heart of downtown Boulder.

Now, a local development group is moving forward on a $30 million, 200-room hotel that will include a city-owned, $10 million, underground parking lot with 656-spaces. The city owns about a third of the project acreage.

The four-star St. Julien Hotel has quietly been in the works by the latest group for the past five years, said general partner Bruce Porcelli, who called from Disney’s World Wilderness Resort, designed by Peter Dominick of Urban Design Group’s Denver office – the same firm selected for St. Julien Hotel and two-level parking garage.

Terry Willis, Urban Design’s project manager, says the hotel will be built to the standards found at a Hyatt Regency. The hotel will include a 175-seat restaurant, with access from the street and hotel. The 150,000-sf hotel also will include 10,000 sf of conference space, including a 5,000-sf banquet room and several meeting break rooms. The hotel also will have an indoor pool and a fitness center. A pedestrian walk will link the hotel with the Pearl Street Mall, a retail location popular with students at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Denver-based hospitality consultant John Montgomery said the hotel is long overdue. “I can remember hotels being planned there 10 or 15 years ago,” Montgomery, president of Horwath Hospitality Consulting/Montgomery & Associates told

“A lot of developers who went to the nearby suburbs, would have preferred to have gone to Boulder,” says Montgomery. “But while Boulder made it tough on developers, first-class hotels like the Omni Resort in Broomfield and the Westin in Westminster were built, which took business away from Boulder. I think Boulder is finally starting to realize that it’s losing business to the suburbs.”

At one point in the mid-1980s, another developer had permission to build a Sheraton on the site, but financing fell through because of a depressed real estate market, recalls Hanson. The timing couldn’t be better for a new hotel in downtown Boulder, says Montgomery. “Boulder has always boasted high occupancies and high-room rates. This hotel will do great.

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