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Boulder Valley Velodrome likely to cease operations

By Steve Maxwell

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BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — The Boulder Valley Velodrome, built by a partnership that includes Boulder retailer Doug Emerson, is likely to close by the end of the year. 

The high-altitude, 250-meter venue was built by Emerson — the owner of University Bikes — and Frank Banta. They announced two years ago that they were hoping to sell the business for $4.7 million; the current asking price is “a fraction” of that, the owners said.

The Velodrome suffered a number of natural disasters in the course of its construction, including a 500-year flood and a tornado, creating unexpected financial burdens on the owners from the very beginning. Although the facility has been up and running successfully now for several years, the financial strains created during the construction period forced the owners to put the facility up for sale. And despite several interested lookers, no one stepped up to acquire and maintain the velodrome, they said.

The popular facility has supported local track enthusiasts and provided a training home for several world champion track racers and numerous national track teams, including the Dutch, Canadian and Australians Olympic teams.

But Emerson said the velodrome site in Erie, Colorado, has gone under a sales contract with a buyer that will close in January. The potential buyer, whose identity remains undisclosed, has said that they will tear down the velodrome to use the 4-acre property for other purposes.

Emerson said he was hopeful that once the cycling community is aware that the velodrome is about to close a new buyer or group will step up to preserve it. Emerson was able to negotiate what he called a “hail Mary” clause in the sale agreement, which allows the facility to be sold, and retained as a velodrome, until Dec. 15. If no new buyers commit by that time, it appears that the velodrome will be lost.

“Almost every metropolitan area in the country has looked at trying to build a velodrome — ours is done, we’re riding it every day. We followed our passion, we persevered through some pretty epic setbacks, but we got the ball across the goal line,” Emerson said.

The velodrome facility consists of a fully operational velodrome, ample parking, exterior lighting for evening events, a 5,050 square-foot bicycle storage unit, infield restrooms and changing rooms for cyclists. It is bordered on two sides by 10 acres of open space. The velodrome is zoned and permitted for a future clubhouse and spectator stands.

Interested parties can contact Eric Rutherford at Wright Kingdom Real Estate Co. 303-541-1908.

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