The Marpa House, a group living facility on Boulder’s University Hill formerly owned and operated by the Buddhist group Shambhala, could soon be transformed into housing for University of Colorado students.
The building at 891 12th St. was originally built in 1923 to serve as the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house and was taken over in 1973 and converted into housing for members of the Shambhala community.
Facing a financial crisis amid the fallout of a sexual misconduct scandal involving Shambhala members, the group sold the Marpa House in 2019 to a group of investors led by developer John Kirkland. The price was just under $5 million.
The house was granted historical landmark status the following year.
The ownership group, 891 12th LLC, is set to take its redevelopment plans before Boulder’s Planning Commission for a use review and public hearing Thursday.
The developer intends to “reconfigure and reconstruct the interior layout of the
building to replace the high-intensity group living quarters and large party rooms with 16 separate and self-contained residential units.” Each unit will be three bedrooms.
The exterior of the building will be updated and beautified and the interior will undergo a “complete modernization of all HVAC, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and fire-suppression systems,” according to planning documents.
“When complete, 891 12th will reflect the architectural grandeur its visionary architects conceived a century earlier,” the owners wrote in a memo to planners.
The transformed Marpa House will be dubbed the Ash House and will be operated by My Boulder Rental, a student-centric property management firm that oversees a handful of nearby rental properties.