Boulder is a great center for research and innovation. From software to space
To renewable energy, our city has a global reputation as the home of scientists and
Entrepreneurs who change the world. So of course, this is a natural spot for the better
And the brighter one to gather for communication and collaboration. What better place could there be
To come and share ideas and inspiration?
There is only one problem. Unlike nearly all similar cities of our size, Boulder has never had
A meeting space large enough to host the kinds of conferences where this collaboration is
When I started writing for camera nearly 20 years ago, it was one of my first columns
About the constant struggle to build a conference hotel. At that time the focus was on a
Variety of locations in the downtown area. Install each of these options one by one
Impractical and the concept seemed off for good.
In the end, after years of false starts, the university came forward and said it would build
The center is on campus if the city will support this effort. That was about a decade ago.
But, as we know, nothing is happening quickly in Boulder. There have been years of negotiations
On the exact location, size of meeting space, user priorities and revenue sharing.
In the end, an agreement was reached that the new convention center would be located in
Grandview and the site have been cleared to make room for construction. Then there was more
Delays as CU Boulder struggled to find a suitable hotel operator and COVID hit its massive disruption on everything. It’s starting to look like a real conference hotel that might never have happened in Boulder.
Then last week there was big news. The university announced that it has entered into a partnership with
Aspen Ski will build a world-class facility on Broadway and University. ASC will build a fourth Limelight Hotel on the Grandview site. The other three lights
It is located in Aspen, Snowmass, and Sun Valley. Boulder Hotel is one of two projects
ASC plans as part of a new focus on the academic market. The other will be in
Cambridge next to Harvard University.
The conference facility will be the largest and best equipped in the front range outside
Denver with a ballroom of 15,000 square feet and an additional 10,000 square feet
meeting spaces. The hotel will have 250 rooms and will be designed in a “U” shape with
The open side facing Broadway and University Hill. This will create a welcome
Entrance to the community. The CU Boulder leaders have been clear that they want this new center to be an asset to both Boulder and not just the University.
Aspen Skiing is a family run company known worldwide for excellence. they are
Leaders in advocating for climate change, sustainable business practices and going deeper
Participation in the communities in which they do business. CU Boulder couldn’t have chosen a better partner for their new facility. There will also be significant synergies with the other new hotel to be built across Broadway.
Together, the two hotels will house nearly 450 rooms and create a meeting destination that will be a huge asset to CU Boulder and to the city.
Of course, in our small town, there are always skeptics. Some asked why
The university allocates valuable space on campus for hotels and meeting rooms that contain
It has nothing to do with education. In fact, this new center has to do with education.
It will attract the best thinkers from around the world to exchange ideas and share research.
Peer institutions across the country have had similar facilities for decades. from Madison
From Austin to Palo Alto, academic conference centers have become an integral part of the mission
One of the great research universities.
The site in Grandview has already been cleaned up and construction will begin next year. completion
It is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2025. As is usually the case in Boulder, this project took a long time
It is happening. But it will definitely be a game changer and is well worth the wait.
Sean Maher is the CEO of RRC Associates in Boulder. It can be accessed at