By Melissa Garcia

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A locally owned coffee shop in Boulder is one of four businesses soon to be displaced by a new luxury townhome complex.

The rising cost of property values, taxes and monthly rent is a part of a growing challenge for both residents and business owners across the state.

Increasing property values are driving out businesses in Boulder’s East Pearl Street neighborhood.

“I think it’s sad that this place is going to be gone for something that isn’t a viable business and community center,” said Zach Tenzin, a recent high school graduate who has worked as a barista at Jet’s Espressoria for more than a year.

coffee Small Businesses Displaced In Boulder Redevelopment

(credit: CBS)

The business owner told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia the rising property taxes, reflected in the rent she pays each month to lease the space, shot up along with the land value increase, making rental cost unaffordable.

For close to two decades, the coffee shop and bakery owner has been serving up roasted brew at the Boulder location, which also employs and serves college students.

“We have a lot of students from CU that come in,” Tenzin told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “And we also have a lot of people who come in and just study.”

Max Albert, a longtime Boulder resident and friend to Espressoria’s owner, said that rising property value and taxes recently jumped so high the building owner was forced to sell.

“The biggest change (in Boulder) is the influx of money, frankly,” Albert said. “I mean, when I was growing up, it was a pretty poor place and people didn’t have a lot of money.”

plans Small Businesses Displaced In Boulder Redevelopment

(credit: CBS)

The land’s new owner, Element Properties, submitted redevelopment plans for 17 new luxury condos to sell for top dollar. A city spokesperson said the building plans were in review, with a decision expected in April.

“I guess it’s progress in a way,” said Albert. “But I’m going to miss the Espressoria.”

While affordable housing is a huge need, Boulder city leaders are pushing to preserve businesses and provide residents with more services.

Boulder’s mayor pro tem has said that he believes one solution includes mixed retail space, which accommodates both commercial and residential use.

coffee 2 Small Businesses Displaced In Boulder Redevelopment

(credit: CBS)

Espressoria’s doors on Pearl Street are expected to close in September or October. The shop’s owner said she is looking for another space for the business. She said her other coffee shop, Luna Café in Longmont where she owns the property, will remain open for business in its current location.

Element Properties Comment

Following the publication of this story, Element Properties reached out to CBS4 with the following comment regarding this report:

“We inherited leases when purchasing the properties in 2017 where the previous property owner and tenants had agreed upon terminations late in 2018. This was orchestrated by the previous owner and agreed to by the tenants. The barista you interviewed may not be privy to the business decisions that the owner has made. These businesses were provided every courtesy they should expect. In fact, one of the tenants, just this morning, elected to leave their lease early for a space that better meets their needs.”

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to


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