ByGeorge Ryan|Jun 15, 2020|Industry News, Local Real Estate, News
By Ali Watkins — June 14, 2020
LOUISVILLE — At least 15 years of uncertainty for the former Storage Technology Corp. site in Louisville soon could come to an end.
Entitlement of a 430-acre parcel in Louisville commonly known as the Phillips 66 property will soon occur, potentially bringing parks, hotels, housing and corporate offices.
Brue Baukol Capital Partners LLC, a Denver-based real estate developer and investment firm, is closing in on securing the land for a multi-purpose campus known as Redtail Ridge. The firm presented its most up-to-date proposal to the Louisville Planning Commission on Thursday. After nearly four hours of discussion and public comment, the issue was put off until the commission’s June 25 meeting.Brue Baukol proposed amendments to the previous owner ConocoPhillips development plans. At maximum buildout, the master development will use 5.22 million square feet for hotels, retail, senior living, all age-inclusive housing and corporate offices.“For 12 years, the site’s been sitting vacant, but it’s a phenomenal site at the intersection of 36 and the Northwest Parkway,” said Geoff Baukol, president and partner with Brue Baukol. “It just has, we think, a tremendous amount of untapped potential.”
The Phillips 66 property stretches past U.S. 36 near Northwest Parkway. Phillips 66 Co. marketed the property as 430-acres but the land in question includes 390 acres within the city of Louisville, 47.4 acres of unincorporated Boulder County and 39.6 acres in the city and county of Broomfield. Boulder Valley School District’s Monarch High School and Monarch K-8 neighbor the north side.
Brue Baukol’s original master plan includes a primary-employer corporate campus, senior living and a mix of hotel, retail and office developments
The estimated buildout will last 12 years. The original plan called for the corporate office to span 500,000 square feet. A 1,500-unit senior living and transitional housing development would be 2.5 million square feet. Another 3.4 million square feet would be reserved for mixed-use retail and hotels. At full buildout, the project now called Redtail Ridge, could generate in the ballpark of $24 million in annual real estate taxes, according to Brue Baukol.
Redtail Ridge has already attracted two major tenants. As reported in October, biotech giant and medical-device company Medtronic Inc. will grow its Boulder County presence with a corporate campus.Plans for a 506,000 square-foot, five-story office campus to be built on 90 acres are in the works. An additional 500 to 1,000 new jobs could be added to the existing 500 Medtronic employees in Louisville.Ryan Cos., Inc., is the developer working with Medtronic to create the “Project 321 Office Campus.” The planned unit development was tentatively scheduled to be reviewed by Louisville’s Planning Commission on Thursday, but was also postponed until June 25 due to time constraints.
Rob Zuccaro, planning and building safety director for the city of Louisville, said the City Council will schedule a public hearing and final GDP review after the review. If approved, the Subdivision Plat, or splitting P66 land into several smaller parcels of land, could see hearings later this summer.
“The pandemic is impacting how we review and schedule all of our land-use cases. The city is exploring several scenarios for in person and virtual hearings at this time,” he said in an email.
“During the past few years, our presence has grown, and we have evaluated how we can accommodate future growth and also optimize our Medtronic-wide presence in Colorado,” Medtronic external communications director John Jordan said in an email earlier this year. “This new campus would bring together parts of two current Medtronic Colorado campuses located in Boulder and Louisville.”
Erickson Living LLC, a subsidiary of Redwood Capital Investments LLC, would operate the senior living facility. Erickson Living’s Windcrest housing in Highlands Ranch generated more than $620,000 in sales subject to sales tax, according to a qualitative assessment in the March 3 GDP submittal. That estimated revenue would be generated by the additional meals sold, catering services, bar receipts and sales at the on-site convenience store.
Megan Pierce, director of economic vitality for the city of Louisville, said Erickson Living and Medtronic’s involvement helps residents imagine the potential 12-year-long buildout.
“It’s very beneficial that the project has already secured major tenants. I think that helps to give the project much more shape and definition,” she said. “It also creates a reality of what the uses would be and how those would look.”
Baukol said that between Medtronic and Erickson Living structures, the two could generate more than $5 million in property taxes a year.
Brue Baukol plans do not currently include development of the 39.6 acres in Broomfield. ERO Resources Corp., a Denver environmental consulting firm, worked on the environmental impact studies and identified Broomfield’s sliver of Redtail as having the highest prairie-dog activity. The Broomfield parcel would be designated a conservation easement.Redtail Ridge developers propose adding roundabouts to Campus Drive to eliminate left-turn congestion and to slow speeds near the Monarch schools. A roundabout would be placed between Monarch K-8 and 88th Avenue. A peanut-shaped roundabout would be placed near the high school. Campus Drive would also be extended to 96th Street.In May, Brue Baukol revised its GDP plan after community outreach brought up concerns surrounding density.
The 2010 ConocoPhillips Campus GDP covered approximately 391 acres. The maximum building density was capped at about 2.5 million square feet. Redtail Ridge’s original GDP requested a building density increase to 6.4 million square feet of new construction, building up to five-stories. Though revisions have been made, the development’s neighbor, Michael Eisenstein, owner of Louisville-based Land Capital LLC, has reservations.
Eisenstein owned a small parcel of the land, 1.5 acres, along 88th Street and Campus Drive under the name 0 88th St LLC. Land Capital is working toward land entitlement and development of a medical campus on the property with windows facing the Flatirons. The plans have yet to be presented to the city.
Eisenstein believes the P66 land should reserve 80% of the property to open space. ConocoPhillips’ GDP density was excessive, he said, so he’s not impressed with Brue Baukol’s development proposal.
“I think that you could have open space, parks, bike networks, walkable networks throughout the land but respect the view corridors and coyote runs, and then have some buildings and still make a profit,” Eisentstein said. “But in this day and age, developers want to squeeze a land like a sponge. Just milk it.”
Baukol said due to the property’s size, it can handle greater density.
“The site is very large and the site requires a tremendous amount of infrastructure investment to make anything on it really work,” he said. “And so really where we are, is a minimum level of development in order to have it all make sense, given the scale of the site.”
The developers did scale down, taking public concern into account, Baukol said. The current plan now calls for 5.22 million square feet of new construction. Within that, 2.25 million is planned for office uses, 1.8 million for Erickson Living, 200,000 for hotels, 70,000 for retail and 900,000 square feet for all-age residential rental units — another request from local people.
Under the current ConocoPhillips GDP, the land is zoned as “Planned Community Zone District” with a commercial designation. Redtail’s proposal adds a residential designation.
Units will be multi-family homes. He described commercial building districts without residential in the mix as “an outdated model.”
“If you were to visit any business park — that’s a pure business park — after say 5 or 5:30 at night, they’re dormant. It’s a ghost town,” Baukol said. “So how do you create a place that’s a draw? That’s more of a benefit for the community? And I think it’s adding these mixture of uses.”
Baukol said the development company will continue active communication with Louisville residents. Brue Baukol began hosting community meetings in August, but recently increased outreach. In May, the firm presented five Zoom webinars and updates on the project. In addition, it held a “Telephone Townhall” on May 20.
Baukol said he’s excited to open the space up to the general public after decades of corporate owners and fenced-in under-utilized land.
“I think what the end result will be is just a phenomenal site and really something that remains very open yet allows the public to use it and enjoy it,” he said.The land has a long development history.
The property previously housed the corporate headquarters for StorageTek, a data-storage technology company. Sun Microsystems Inc. acquired StorageTek in 2005 for $4.1 billion and moved employees out of Louisville and into Sun’s Broomfield campus. Sun was later acquired by Oracle Corp. in 2010.
“That was huge when StorageTek left. It employed a lot of local citizens. That was a big hit to Louisville,” said Shelley Angell, executive director of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce.
Sun sold the property to ConocoPhillips, an American multinational energy corporation, for $55.6 million in 2008. Plans to build a clean-energy research site promised to create 7,000 jobs.
Angell said excitement for Louisville residents returned with the ConocoPhillips purchase. But blueprints to build a state-of-the-art research campus were tossed.
Phillips 66 Co. (NYSE: PSX) spun off from ConocoPhillips in 2012, leaving behind the unmaterialized development. The property was put on the market and has been for sale ever since. The land is often referred to as the Phillips 66 or P66 property.
In 2017, California’s Bancroft Capital announced intentions to purchase the P66 land. Under contract with Bancroft, the property was submitted by the state of Colorado as a potential location for the Amazon HQ2 project. The Seattle-based tech conglomerate, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), sought proposals for its second full-sized North American headquarters. The P66 property was among the 238 pitches from across the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Amazon promised $5 billion to build a second campus that could house around 50,000 employees in about 8 million square feet, comparable to the Seattle site. Amazon chose other locations, and the P66 remained vacant.
Enter Brue Baukol. On June 25 of last year, Brue Baukol submitted its first general development plan for the P66 site; it proposed a multi-purpose campus with the city of Louisville. Then referred to as the P66 Project, developers later changed to Nawatny Ridge before settling on Redtail Ridge.
Featured in Daily Camera – June 14, 2020
Example list item
Please sign up for our emails and latest newsletters.
1048 Pearl Street, Suite 440
Boulder, Colorado 80302