Macy’s long-time redevelopment plan for 29th Street Mall takes another step

Department store pledges $3 million to Boulder’s affordable housing program

By Tatyana Sharpton Jan 30 2021

City Council, earlier this month, approved a site proposal plan for a redesign nearly three years in the making, as Boulder’s local Macy’s department store seeks to redevelop its aging space in the Twenty Ninth Street Mall shopping center.

Macy’s plans to transform the 150,000-square foot store at 1900 28th Street into a roughly 155,000-square foot, three-story mixed-use office space with approximately 7,700 square feet intended for retail space on its ground floor.

The proposed Boulder Macy’s redesign. Source: Trestle Strategy Group

The national brand founded in 1858 with headquarters in New York City has wanted to sell or transform some of its underperforming branches for years, and it identified its Boulder location as a prime candidate first in 2017.

While fear of Boulder’s growing job-to-housing imbalance kept the plan from moving ahead, the pandemic and residual drop in retail sales helped finally bring this change to fruition.

One of the city’s hold-ups on morphing the store to include offices stems from a concern that the additional workspace could further amplify Boulder’s job-housing imbalance, creating new jobs without the affordable housing which, many presume, these workers would have to get to live in Boulder.

Boulder’s approach to try to control the imbalance led to a development moratorium across the city in early 2019, which included the Macy’s site and halted the project until the council lifted the moratorium later that year in October. To help quell some of these fears, the department recently announced a $3 million pledge to Boulder’s affordable housing program.