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Boulder leaders seek advisory board input on life-sciences project

BOULDER — Boston-based real estate investment outfit Beacon Capital Partners will get some additional feedback on its plan to build a new biotechnology-centric office and lab space in Boulder’s Pearl East Business Park prior to bringing more-detailed plans before city officials for approval.

Boulder City Council voted unanimously last week to refer conceptual plans for the 139,330-square-foot life-sciences building to the city’s Transportation Advisory Board and Design Advisory Board.

The plan for the new building on what is now a parking lot at Pearl East calls for a “facility that includes a combination of office, and laboratory spaces suitable for science and technology-based research and development companies,” according to Boulder planning documents.

The referrals to advisory boards comes after a handful of concerns about the project were raised by Boulder’s Planning Board last month. Those concerns related to a requested height variance and whether BCP is attempting to shoehorn an approval for traditional office space under the guise of a life-sciences facility.

“I hope that if they do go that way, they provide something pretty convincing,” Planning Board member Laura Kaplan said during an August hearing on the project. “To say, ‘We speculatively could have a tenant that might need this height,’ is not very convincing,” she said, and could be used as a loophole for any developer looking to maximize height.

Councilman Matt Benjamin said, “If this doesn’t qualify for [an advisory board] review, I don’t know what does.”

Mayor Aaron Brockett said that while he doesn’t have major concerns about building height or potential industry uses, BCP “may well make some pretty substantial revisions based on Planning Board” and advisory board comments.Beacon Capital bought the 11-building, 485,000-square-foot Pearl East campus in July 2021 for $190 million, a deal that provided its previous owner, a Goldman Sachs-affiliated investment group, a $40 million return on its investment in barely two years.

Source: BizWest

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