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 November 19, 1999

Collage Children’s Museum, Village Arts chosen for downtown Boulder’s civic center

BOULDER – Letters of intent have been sent to the city for two organizations chosen to share the civic space in a multimillion dollar development project in downtown Boulder.

The Collage Children’s Museum and the Village Arts Coalition, which is made up of about 30 dance and music groups, were selected from a pool of local arts and cultural organizations to occupy the civic center, part of a corresponding hotel project being developed at Ninth and Canyon streets.

The letters were submitted to the city by the Central Area General Improvement District (CAGID), which owns the land where the civic facility will be built, and by St. Julien Partners, developers of the hotel. Joe de Raismes, Boulder city attorney, said a first draft of the letters were to be delivered sometime in late October.

Following negotiations, the two groups will have the option to sign the letters as a more formal acknowledgment of their decision to move ahead in the planning process. The next step will be to outline some deadlines for the facility’s design and financial plan – “Steps that still need to be taken before this is a reality,” according to Molly Winter, director of the downtown management commission.

A date has not been set for the building’s construction, but the groups have developed a detailed plan, including estimates for the exact square footage for exhibit and dance space. Now “they need to take that footprint plan and fit a building on it,” she said.

The three-story facility will include the children’s museum, a dance performance center, classroom and office area and a folk art center. Village Arts will occupy one third, leaving the first and second floors to the museum.

The facility will cost between $5 million and $6 million, although a firm financial plan has not been worked out, said Ingvar Sodal, Village Arts board member. Village Arts will fund its part of the facility with funds from private investors, while the Collage museum will host a number of fundraising events.

The facility will be located east of the hotel at the site of the old chamber of commerce building. After working out a design, Sodal said the next step will be architectural plans.

“This is a unique project,” he said. “The city has never had a project like this with such a large building being planned for downtown. Many groups are having a hard time finding space right now.”

As designated by the Boulder Urban Renewal Authority (BURA) plan, 20 percent of space at the site, about 37,000 square feet, must be set aside for civic use.

Ten local businesses and organizations originally solicited proposals for use of the civic space, including the Colorado Dance Festival, KGNU, CATV, the Village Arts Coalition, the Tesseract Museum, the Collage Children’s Museum, Space for Dance, a community café, The Boulder Jaycees/Depot and a joint collaboration between Village Arts, the Collage Museum and Space for Dance.

Of the 10 proposals, only the joint proposal and the Boulder Jaycees/Depot relocation met the criteria for use of the civic space, which included having a history in the community.

The selected groups submitted proposals in August. After a review period, the Civic Use Task Force recommended the Collage museum and Village Arts, based on various factors, including financial ability to maintain the building over time. The task force then let the groups decide whether or not to include Space for Dance.

Although the museum and the coalition are provided with the space, Winter said they are solely responsible for financing the building’s construction and maintenance. Space for Dance had proposed passing a bond to pay for its part, but ultimately, financial constraints prevented its participation.

The facility’s size limitations impeded the Boulder Jaycees. The group had planned to construct a platform but, based on the amount of space The Depot would take, concluded it would be too difficult, if not impossible, to relocate.

In conjunction with this step forward for the civic space, a clear financial plan for the hotel has been worked out, and the final site review is nearing completion. Although plans for the civic space are still behind those for the hotel, de Raismes said it isn’t critical to the planning process for the hotel.

Winter said the BURA plan requires coordinated development, but that does not mean simultaneous development. Right now, she said, they are focused on the site review but are moving forward with this project as well.

BOULDER – Letters of intent have been sent to the city for two organizations chosen to share the civic space in a multimillion dollar development project in downtown Boulder.

The Collage Children’s Museum and the Village Arts Coalition, which is made up of about 30 dance and music groups, were selected from a pool of local arts and cultural organizations to occupy the civic center, part of a corresponding hotel project being developed at Ninth and Canyon streets.

The letters were submitted to the city by the Central Area General Improvement District (CAGID), which owns the land where the civic facility will…

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