Developer buys Boulder site where R&D facility is planned

BOULDER — A commercial real estate developer recently purchased a Boulder site where the company plans to build a 200,000-square-foot research and development-centric flex-industrial building.

Builder Schnitzer West, through holding company 5675 Arapahoe Property Holdings LLC, bought the property at 5675 Arapahoe Ave. from Canal Avenue Park LLC, an entity registered to a commercial address in Boulder, for $19 million, Boulder County real estate records show. 

The nearly 10-acre site includes a nearly 19,000-square-foot industrial building.

Schnitzer West, which has operations in Denver and Seattle, introduced its plans to Boulder City officials in March. The Boulder City Council opted not to call the project up for scrutiny at the time but did request that Boulder’s Transportation Advisory Board and Design Advisory Board weigh in before final sign-offs are made. 

The Aparahoe project is “design(ed) to support technical office users,” according to a memo provided to city planners by an applicant for the developer.

“Technical office” is no longer a recognized building type within Boulder’s land-use code, so the applicant must qualify for zoning approval as an office, research and development facility or light-industrial space, city staff told officials. Schnitzer West will take the R&D route.

Schnitzer West will explore sustainability efforts, including “solar, energy efficiency measures, sensitivity to the carbon footprint, and exterior materials that are reflective of the place,” the memo said. “Sensitivity (will be) taken to properly scale and organize the buildings to protect views of the Flatirons, respect the adjacent floodplain and pond, and enhance the existing vacant lot with a biophilic courtyard.”

The developer’s “approach provides ample site area to be landscaped with native species and outdoor trails and plaza,” planning documents said. “A clear loop around the site is intended to remain for life safety and delivery trucks to avoid conflict between these functions and vehicular traffic. Solar charging stations will be provided along with long-term and short-term bike storage to promote and support alternate methods of transportation.”

Flex commercial projects designed with science-heavy users, particularly in the biotechnology sector, have proliferated throughout the Boulder Valley region over the past couple of years.

The Arapahoe Avenue proposal is just down the road from Boulder’s Flatiron Park corporate campus, which owners BioMed Realty LLC aims to establish as the epicenter of the city’s life-sciences scene. 

Last year, when BioMed bought 24 buildings in Flatiron Park that total roughly 1 million square feet, about 15% of the space housed life-sciences users. The company aims to bump that percentage up to around 50 over the next few years.

On Boulder’s Walnut Street, Conscience Bay Co. LLC is developing the Ridgeway Science and Technology project, a 112,423-square-foot building that the company said represents a “significant opportunity for a cutting edge, two-story, science and technology development.”

Dallas-based investor and developer Mohr Capital LLC is dipping its first toe in the market with plans to build a four-building speculative campus on a vacant parcel next to the Oracle Corp. operation in Broomfield’s Interlocken business park. 

Nearby, another Dallas developer, Lincoln Property Co., is developing a large new office, research and development, and light-manufacturing campus in Interlocken with an eye toward biotech tenants. 

The project, known as CoRE – Colorado Research Exchange, will be built at 235 Interlocken Blvd. and is planned to total about 450,000 square feet spread across four buildings that will range from about 16,000 square feet for the development’s amenities center to nearly 200,000 square feet for the largest office building.

In Louisville, Redtail Ridge represents a major question mark for the city’s life-sciences future. 

The project, which for years has proved difficult to push across the regulatory finish line, could eventually house a 2.6 million-square-foot, commercial-only development with a focus on biotechnology facilities on the roughly 400-acre, long-vacant, former Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) site off U.S. 36. 

However, residents and Louisville officials have been thus far unwilling to grant the approvals necessary for Denver-based developer Brue Baukol Capital Partners LLC and partner Sterling Bay LLC to break ground. 

In Lafayette, Sterling Bay is transforming a Lafayette Corporate Campus office building formerly leased to Ball Corp. (NYSE: BALL) into a speculative flex space geared toward biotechnology tenants. 

The company, which bought the Campus Drive property as part of a $74.5 million portfolio acquisition deal in 2021 with developer Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners, intends a roughly 50-50 split between office and laboratory uses for the roughly 52,000-square-foot space.

The lab space will be geared toward research and development uses rather than light manufacturing such as pharmaceutical or medical-device production. 

Just next door to the Lafayette Corporate Campus, Medtronic Inc. is putting the finishing touches on its medical-device research and development hub.

The company will soon consolidate its local business into 400,000 square feet of new office and laboratory space spread across two, five-story buildings. Of that, 60,000 square feet will be dedicated to research and development, a 10,000-square-foot increase over Medtronic’s current R&D footprint in the region.

This story has been corrected to reflect the updated name of the Ridgeway Science and Technology project.

Source: BizWest

Related Articles