Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Mary Wolbach Lopert

Williams family to develop Mockingbird at Fabulous Gunbarrel Green


January 18, 2018

Photo by Mary Wolbach Lopert Gemma and Thysson Williams.

Longtime Gunbarrel residents will remember the Mockingbird restaurant on Lookout Road. While many have fond memories of eating there, the restaurant closed and, after a fire, the building was demolished in 2007. A new foundation was created for a multi-use development, but the 2008 recession put those plans on hold.

That hold is now over. A new effort, spearheaded by brother and sister Thysson and Gemma Williams, is underway for a multi-use development, to be known as Mockingbird at Fabulous Gunbarrel Green. Thysson and Gemma are following in the footsteps of their grandfather William’s and father Petur as real estate developers.

In addition to the land the old restaurant occupied, the new venture will include the Matthews building property, directly to the west. Both properties combined total 2.4 acres.

The development is in its concept application phase. Paperwork was submitted to the City of Boulder in November 2017, and the city’s written comments were received on Dec. 8. On Jan. 4, 2018 the Williams siblings went to a planning board hearing. They hope to submit for the site review on June 1.

The Mockingbird’s anchor will be the food hall. At 14,000 square feet, it will make up 20 percent of the total development. “We’re looking to shift the food hall into … the footprint of what the [original] Mockingbird was,” Gemma said. It would overlook the sixth hole of the Boulder Country Club golf course.

The food hall will be modeled after a European concept, where many restaurants are housed within a building. Thysson cites Harrods in London as a good example.

For the Mockingbird food hall, Gemma said plans show nine to 15 different stalls of either satellite restaurants or places for new chefs to have their own space. While most of the restaurants will be permanent, they do want to have at least one pop-up, rotating stall, with maybe a three to six-month lease.  Chains will not be allowed.

The Williams are hoping to create a place that offers a variety of fine food at an affordable price point and will enhance the eating experience in both Gunbarrel and Niwot.

Besides the food hall, the development will have a variety of components. Current plans call for 46 percent to be residential, with 16 units made up of two brownstones, eight townhomes and 16 one-bedroom units, totaling 32,900 square feet.

A boutique hotel with 20 rooms, comprising 15 percent of the development or 11,000 square feet, along with office space, will occupy 10 percent or 7,000 square feet.

The city has designated retail as personal service retail. Planned shops can include coffee, barber and bike shops, and a yoga studio along with a café and ice cream or candy shop. Both Toppers Hair Studio and the Green Dream dispensary will remain open during construction.

The developers are in contact with the Boulder City Library for a corner library, which has been a high priority among for the Gunbarrel community. The corner library is currently slated for 1,000 square feet.

As for parking, the current plan has 117 spaces, but the developers are asking for a 40 percent reduction. Along with street level parking, there will be a parking structure incorporated into one of the buildings at the corner of Gunpark Drive and Lookout Road.

In this concept phase, level one of the parking structure is half a grade below ground level, with a second level above. Apartments at the top of the building will bring the building’s height to 51 feet. While that matches the height of the neighboring Gunbarrel Medical Center, a height variance will be required by the city.

The development will include walkways, bike paths and green space for 60,000 square feet of open space.

Thysson and Gemma believe there is enough variety at the Mockingbird to draw the public in four to five times a week. Thysson feels, “We are trying to lay out something that is useful and needed in Gunbarrel in terms of community benefit, services [and] a place to gather, eat and be merry.”


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