by John Kiljan
Dear CLRC members and friends,
First, we’re trying something a little new here. The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community (CLRC) has two internet websites: one is on our main www.RalstonCommunity.org website run by WordPress and the other is on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. I know, it is Facebook that wants to spell “Livable” like that and they won’t let us change it. But it’s hard to complain about a free service. The CLRC’s president, T.O. Owens, who is also busy with a day job and raising two kids, manages all of this for us, as well as our direct email messages. Thanks, T.O.!
Our Facebook page has a lot more postings and comments than our WordPress site and it is much easier to post to — and it has over 800 subscribers, not that most of them probably don’t look at what shows up on their screens. I use our Facebook outlet for spur-of-the-moment postings. But Facebook also has lousy formatting, terrible archiving, and, although anyone can post an article to our page, most articles and comments by readers tend to disappear into a balloon icon or a sidebar as soon as they are posted – hardly something that encourages useful feedback. Did I really say it’s hard to complain about a free service?
Meanwhile, the RalstonCommunity.org website on WordPress we pay for has great formatting and excellent archiving for those who want to be able find out what’s been happening in central Arvada over the years. And it has about 70 subscribers who get direct emails of our postings. Plus, we have another 100 or so who get direct emails through iContact, another direct emailing service. (We also keep another iContact list of about the same size to inform those who have signed up just to hear information about community recreation issues and a replacement for the former Fisher Pool in Ralston Central Park.)
All told, we think we usually get about 200 individual readers for each article we post on RalstonCommunity.org — not everyone opens all their emails. However, if there is a hot topic being discussed (eg, Walmart, the pool, election profiles), we can get over a thousand readers for articles – not bad for a small local neighborhood association with about 7000 household and that can only get about 20 people to show up for an annual meeting.
To avoid email clutter to our subscription readers, we only post what we think are the most important articles on RalstonCommunity.org and put the briefer “meeting tonight” types of articles on Facebook where they scroll off the screen into some kind of digital oblivion in a week or two.
But that leaves out the RalstonCommunity.org readers who don’t want to sign up for Facebook and who might also benefit from some of the more significant Facebook postings as well. And they might benefit from repostings from other Facebook sites (both pro- and anti-City) that cover issues important to central Arvada. Hence, the first “Notes from the Net” series of articles you are reading now. It is intended to be a reposting of the most useful Facebook postings before they fall into that great electronic wastebasket somewhere in the internet. Readers should expect only the minimal editing needed for articles or their comments for them to make sense.
Feedback is welcome. If this doesn’t work out because our readers don’t like the increased email clutter, or are (like me) confused by Facebook’s informal posting culture, or it is too much trouble to put together, we can simply go back to doing what we have been doing all along.
Now, where were we? Oh yes, hotels and a church! Here is the first “Notes from the Net”. It comes from our CLRC Facebook page and was not originally covered on our RalstonCommunity.org website.
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Notes from the Net – Olde Town Hotels and the Vineyard Church
New Hotel for Olde Town? On AURA’s agenda for its Wednesday night [Jan 7, 2015] board meeting is a request to build a four-story Hilton Garden Inn hotel at the current site of the Vineyard church on Olde Wadsworth just south of Olde Town. Currently, central Arvada has no hotel facilities and is being served by hotels in Wheat Ridge and Westminster. You can read about the proposal in the AURA board meeting packet at this link:
Update: An Olde Town hotel is looking more likely after the AURA Board of Commissioners voted to approve the hotel proposal late Wednesday afternoon. The recent changes to the agreement were to give the Vineyard church their six-month notice at little later — only after the hotel’s preliminary development plan (PDP) has been received by the City. That could happen in early April. Also, the City and AEDA (a City-run economic development organization and support service) will be offering to help the Vineyard find a new location.
What could go wrong? AURA could be left without a church to service their debt on the property (about $8000/month) at the same time it is without a hotel, if the developer’s financing the falls through or there is a construction problem. But, so far, everything seems to be in place. The developer is doing business as Arvada Hotel Investors, LLC (Scott Summerville as principal).
The estimated completion date for the hotel is sometime in 2017. It is expected to have 136 rooms and a food, beverage and meeting space big enough for wedding receptions and small conventions. AURA’s contribution to the project is a discounted land sale and a very small lodging tax rebate. Arvada only charges a 2% lodging tax. The typical rate for other metro-area cities is about 8%.
I have been asked why build a hotel here and not at the Nine-Acre Site just west of Vance Street in Olde Town as was proposed by Trammell Crow last year. It’s a good question. From what I’ve heard, the idea is still there, but it seems to be a more iffy proposition because of the timing and location. Olde Town needs a hotel, but it also needs transit parking during the construction of the station and the Nine-Acre Site east of Vance will not be available for construction until after the Gold Line’s opening day.
The Trammell Crow plan was to have the hotel sit above the level of Grandview, and that could slow down acceptance of the design plans as well. A much-needed pedestrian rail overpass in Olde Town was scotched by RTD because of the delays an environmental design review would have involved.
Also, the developer for the Nine-Acre Site may not be able to find anyone willing to put in a hotel when the site is ready. The developer of the Hilton Garden Inn on Olde Wads says he has financing lined up now, but that might fall through in less than a year. That’s why he is anxious to break ground this year, otherwise it might not get built at all. Lack of available financing has killed several previous attempts to build a hotel where the Vineyard is located now.
Meanwhile, TC may not be able to get financing for a hotel at all, and they seem to prefer starting out with retail on the NAS and use that income to fund the follow-on housing projects. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another hotel break ground on the NAS sometime in 2016 if the economy holds up.
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–John Kiljan, for the CLRC
11 January 2015