Despite City Council’s refusal to waive park development fees for downtown development, Darsey Nicklasson and Kathy Loo have decided to move forward with their projected downtown apartment building, Blue Dot Place.
They announced their intentions in an email sent to the City Council and Mayor on Wednesday.
The 32-unit building will be located at 418 S. Nevada, just south of the just-opened Iron Bird Brewery.
Blue Dot is the latest and most tangible evidence of the organic redevelopment of south central downtown. South central downtown, unlike the Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal district several blocks to the west, has scores of individual property owners. That has enabled small investors and owner/users to begin piecemeal development of the area. Redevelopment begets more redevelopment, as investors and business owners gain confidence in the neighborhood.
The Southwest district, by contrast, has seen no development since it was created more than a decade ago.
Next up: father and daughter developers Bob and Jenny Elliott, who plan to build two separate apartment buildings in the within a block of the Blue Dot. The Elliotts are also concerned about the school/park fees required by existing ordinances, so it may be that Council’s inaction will stall further residential development for a while.
Here’s the letter from Loo and Nicklasson.
Dear Mayor and City Council Members,
Thank you for your time and your willingness to engage in discussions. We are very disappointed that we have not been able to resolve the School and Park Fee issues. We believe that this ordinance must be changed as soon as possible so that it does not unjustly hold up the many other projects that are in planning stages.
In spite of the fact that we are unduly burdened by the decision to not amend the Park and School Fee ordinances, temporarily or otherwise, we have decided to proceed with building Blue Dot Place. There is an immediate demand for downtown housing.
As regularly outlined in market research and news articles, downtowns are the most desired areas for people seeking an urban lifestyle and an innovation culture. In every dynamic city, downtown residential development is one of the major drivers of business development and economic growth throughout the region – not just the downtown.
While it is imperative that the park and school fees be addressed in how they pertain to infill development, it is even more important for this project to begin now.
The bigger picture is that our city needs to grow our economy and innovate. Starting Blue Dot Place now gives us a chance to jump start downtown and will be one of many steps we must take to create jobs and attract people. Because of weather, we must start now or it will be two years before we have any new housing in downtown.
There are many people and groups who are waiting for urban housing for their current employees. These include Atlas Prep, the USOC, Stockman-Kast and many others who find it difficult to hire the young talent they need.
We will continue to be a very active part of the infill discussion, but we are tired of just talking and it’s time to get started. Many departments in the City have been exceptionally helpful through the review processes.
The new Rapid Response Team, the Planning Department, the Parks Department, CSU and many individual staff and boards have done a great job. It is because of them that we are ready to go.
We MUST make it easier and less costly for people to invest in our community. We will continue to work with the City to identify areas for improvements, and we hope that you will too. It is up to US, as citizens who care about our future, to invest now. We have no time to lose. Each step forward will help us make progress towards being the city we need to be.
We are planning a groundbreaking ceremony for Blue Dot Place on Thursday, Sept 4th at 4:30pm. We hope you will join us.
Kathy Loo and Darsey Nicklasson