By Lucas High – January 15, 2020
LOUISVILLE — Medtronic Inc., which is in talks to build a 500,000-square-foot corporate campus, might not be the only large employer to eventually set up shop at the former Phillips 66 site in Louisville.
Chad Brue, co-founder of development firm Brue Baukol Capital Partners, said three additional firms — all with current operations in the Boulder Valley — are eyeing vacant, roughly 400-acre property located at U.S. Highway 36 and Northwest Parkway for possible new offices, labs or manufacturing facilities.
Brue did not name the companies that have expressed interest in the Phillips 66 land, now known as Redtail Ridge. He also stressed that the firms are only in the exploratory phases of relocating or expanding to the Louisville property and no deals have been inked.
One company has already toured the property and has a need for 350,000 to 450,000-square-foot office building, he said. The other two firms are in the market for mixed-use spaces of around 100,000 square feet.
Lack of large, available commercial parcels in Boulder is driving demand for office and manufacturing spaces in places east of the city.
“It’s difficult to continue to grow businesses in Boulder proper,” Brue said. “There’s also a desire from companies to be near Boulder, but also a little closer to Denver.”
The Medtronic campus, which could break ground as early as this year, may eventually employ as many as 3,000 workers. Based on real estate norms for employers of 150 to 250 square feet per employee, the three other potential offices could add another 4,000 workers or more.
The Phillips 66 property formerly housed the corporate headquarters for Storage Technology Corp. and has lain dormant for years. Sun Microsystems Inc. acquired StorageTek in 2005 for $4.1 billion, and those workers eventually were moved to Sun’s Broomfield campus. Sun was later acquired by Oracle Corp. in 2010.
In 2008, Sun sold the 430-acre property to ConocoPhillips for $55.6 million. The energy company announced plans to build a clean-energy research campus that would eventually create 7,000 jobs. But the subsequent spinoff of Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) from ConocoPhillips brought an end to those plans, and the property was put on the market.
The land was one of the sites submitted by the state of Colorado as a potential location for the Amazon HQ2 project, with the land under contract to Bancroft Capital. That deal never materialized.
Denver-based Brue Baukol Capital Partners submitted documents to the city of Louisville in late June 2019 to transform the acreage into a mixed-use development that could include a 1,500-unit senior-living and transition-care facility, along with office, retail and hotel uses.