RE/MAX of Boulder Podcast: George Karakehian on the Leading Edge of What’s Happening in Boulder

Posted by on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 at 10:51am.

The RE/MAX of Boulder Podcast continues to keep the Boulder community and future home buyers and sellers updated with the latest information regarding the real estate market. This week RE/MAX of Boulder's Duane Duggan interviews City Council Member George Karakehian to discuss the City of Boulder’s latest news.

Listen to the full interview on Sound Cloud:

RE/MAX of Boulder Podcast host and REALTOR® Duane Duggan (left) with Boulder City Council Member George Karakehian (right).

George Karakehian with RE/MAX of Boulder's DB Wilson and owners Tom and Jay Kalinski.

As a local businessman, property owner, and city council member, George Karakehian lives and breathes Boulder. Aside from serving on city council, George is also the owner of Art Source International, an antique maps and prints shop and local landmark located on the downtown Pearl Street Mall at 1237 Pearl Street.

After first being elected in November 2011, George has worked passionately to enhance communication and improve CU-Boulder’s relationship with the City of Boulder. Despite his notable success over the last five years, George has announced that this will be his last term serving on city council. “After six years I believe it’s time for someone new to step in.”

“As a businessman in town, my votes on city issues have been skewed towards
common sense decisions.”

VRBO Vacation Rentals

Recently, the City of Boulder has been discussing the potential upsides and downsides of taking on popular short-term rental companies such as VRBO or Airbnb. “The debate will be very divisive,” says Karakehian. “As a businessman in town, my votes on city issues have been skewed towards common sense decisions. This one is a tough one because it’s a balancing of an already tight market—rentals, ownership, etc. – with the ability of a property owner to rent out their home for whatever money they can get for it on a short-term basis as compared to long-term basis.” As a city council member, George must make these types of decisions based on the best interests of the city of Boulder. While this fiery debate continues, Karakehian speculates in the future that the city would allow VRBOs and that they would be regulated, similar to apartments, through licensing, inspection, and other contingencies.

Ballot Measures

Other recent city council debates have revolved around the idea of a neighborhood’s right to vote on development. “We should be very concerned about this issue,” says Karakehian, “because basically, it is being put forward to stop any and all change… I don’t believe 10% of a neighborhood should be able to stop something from happening in a neighborhood. For that reason alone I don’t support it.” Both Duggan and Karakehian highly encourage their listeners to educate themselves on these issues and to approach them with critical thinking and close investigation.

“Boulder continues to be an exciting, thriving, growing community.”

Growth in Boulder

Whether it’s commercial or residential, Boulder has seen considerable development and growth over the last decade, which has left Boulder community members both excited and concerned. “You know, I guess it just depends on how people look at it,” says Karakehian. “We or many of us, on council, are very excited about what’s been happening on 30th and Pearl Street… The density there is intentional.” According to Karakehian, Boulder has needed to “densify” in order to take care of the housing shortage and accommodate Boulder’s continuously growing population. As a part of Boulder’s recent Living Labs initiative, the city is looking to “right size” several streets to provide more equitable space for all road users and to improve safety and access, particularly for bicycles. After Monday’s city council meeting, members agreed to implement a pilot project that would reduce vehicle lanes to create wider bike lanes on Folsom, Iris, and 63rd streets. Karakehian openly disagrees with this plan, calling it “an assault on common sense.” Replies Duggan, “We’re never going to please everybody.”

Welcome, Google

“I was a big proponent of Google,” says Karakehian. “I came here in 1970, and I believe the impact that Google will have on this community will equal the positive impact that IBM had. It’s an exciting company, and ultimately will add another 1,000 jobs, all well-paying.” Despite the controversy surrounding Google’s big move to Boulder, Karakehian recognizes the benefits this will bring for the Boulder community and for the real estate market. “Every other community in the United States would have given their right arm to have Google here. What we’ve done up until now has made Boulder a very exciting place in which to live and work, and Google has recognized that as well.”


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