By  on October 16, 2006

BOULDER, Colo. — The Twenty Ninth Street development officially opened Friday on 62 acres in the heart of this city, delivering a new hybrid format.

The project is a mix of 805,000 square feet of retailing and dining, and a series of space and science exhibits, called The Wonder of Science, situated in the common areas and created by seven national science laboratories and institutes in the Boulder area.

The $130 million project reflects planning that ultimately satisfied commercial interests as well as community and environmental concerns after years of debate. Planning started in the late Nineties, and four years ago, the Westcor division of The Macerich Co. took over the project. It's on the site of the former Crossroads Mall, which was demolished, but about 82 percent of the wreckage was recycled for the construction.

In addition, more than 50 percent of the area's parking is underground to lessen the impact on the climate and wildlife habitat; landscaping was planned for low watering requirements, and there is special roofing to reduce energy costs. Twenty Ninth Street is the largest commercial real estate project in Boulder since the Crossroads Mall was built in 1963, according to local planning officials.

Anchors Macy's and Home Depot have launched, and Century Theatre and a Wild Oats natural market and corporate headquarters are opening in the spring. Other stores operating are Apple, Lucy, M.A.C, Puma, The Territory Ahead, White House/Black Market and Z Gallerie.

"Since the beginning, Boulder has asked for a center that is pedestrian-friendly and architecturally interesting, with a diverse mix of high-quality local and national merchants," Lain Adams, senior property manager at Twenty Ninth Street, said in a statement.

David Scholl, senior vice president, development, Westcor, said, "For us to be successful in this highly engaged, discerning community required a strong commitment to working together."

Among the science exhibits:

  • The National Center for Atmospheric Research created a large sphere of the Earth embedded with 5,000 fiber optic threads to demonstrate the concentration of light on the planet. The sphere floats on a small stream of water that can be moved by a child.
  • The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration developed a large-scale sundial sculpture and weather station that provides real-time, localized weather conditions.
  • The Space Science Institute created a "planet playground
  • The National Renewable Energy Lab has a solar- and wind-powered exhibit designed as oversized metal trees to collect solar power
  • The University of Colorado's Laboratory of Astronomical Space Physics exhibit uses natural sunlight to demonstrate the properties of light, creating colors and prisms.

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