As many of you know, Google has brought 1200+ new employees’ to Boulder, all making over $100,000 per year. This means that prices for housing will continue to go up, because more people that move here can afford to pay that much. That is good for sellers who want to leave Boulder, but not so much for buyers who are having a hard time financially meeting the high prices. So middle income folks are moving out to Gunbarrel, Lafayette, Louisville, Niwot, Superior and other outlying Boulder communities. Many Boulderites don’t really consider Gunbarrel apart of Boulder, even though the neighborhood is located northeast of Boulder proper and one of the fastest growing parts of the city. With bike paths that take you to the Boulder Creek bike path and downtown, and affordable housing, and the Boulder Country Club, Gunbarrel is a more affordable option for a Boulder zip code.

The history goes that Gunbarrel is named after a historic local stagecoach route and consisted of farmland before IBM’s plant was built in Boulder County in 1965. IBM needed housing for the many executives and employees that they brought in to work at the new facility. Large corporations like IBM, Spectra Logic Corp., GE Energy Control Solutions, GE Analytical Instruments, Celestial Seasonings, and one of the top advertising agencies in the nation, Crispin Porter + Bogusky live in Gunbarrel.

New Gunbarrel project

If you haven’t been out to Gunbarrel lately, there is a ton of new construction going in. One of the largest building projects proposed is the Gunbarrel Center, a $50 million mixed-used development.

Gunbarrel Center’s plans include 251 market-rate apartments, 22,000 square feet of retail space, a pedestrian-oriented “Main Street,” a park and structured parking. Gunbarrel Center is the latest of a string of new developments expected to reshape the northeast arm of the city of Boulder.

CropperCapture[3](2).jpg Artist rendering of Gunbarrel CenterGunbarrel Center on Gunpark Drive will offer 25,500 square feet of new retail and commercial space and 251 apartments.

Also, workers broke ground on the Alexan Flatirons development at 5460 Spine Road. Alexan Flatirons — which since has been rebranded as Apex 5460 — consists of 231 for-rent units in a dozen two-to-three-story buildings, surface parking and retail space. The final units are expected to be completed by March 2015.

Gunbarrel is growing up and provides the best of both worlds. The Flatirons are still there, the trails, and family friendly open space. So you get to live close to Boulder without any of the traffic, parking or real estate prices (which are also climbing). You get a Boulder zip code without any of the pretense.

By Kirsten RAE Erkfritz, Boulder citizen, real estate agent, historian, yogini, and entrepreneur.