LOUISVILLE — The Boulder Valley biotechnology boom shows no signs of slowing as a pair of developers have set their sights on a shuttered big-box home-improvement store in Louisville that could be transformed into a home for life-sciences companies. 

Denver-based developer Koelbel and Co. recently formed a joint venture with Vitrian, a Maryland builder of biotechnology spaces, to develop the Centennial Valley Innovation Center on the site of the former Lowes store at 1171 W. Dillon Road.

The roughly 134,000-square-foot Lowes store, which Boulder County property records show is owned by Lowes HIW Inc., closed last year after the home-improvement retailer opened a new location nearby at the Nine Mile Corner shopping center in Erie.


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“Vitrian, Koelbel and DRA have deep roots in the Colorado marketplace and in the Centennial Valley in particular,” Vitrian co-founder Scott Nudelman said in a prepared statement. “As biomanufacturing and non-pharma advanced manufacturing expands beyond the coastal markets, Boulder County will continue to benefit. We look forward to collaborating with companies and stakeholders in the region, including the Colorado Bioscience Association and Institute, Front Range Community College and non-profit organizations focused on STEM workforce development.”

The Centennial Valley Innovation Center will provide “dedicated biomanufacturing and advanced manufacturing capable space,” the development group said in a news release.

A fund managed by DRA Advisors LLC will provide financing for the redevelopment project, according to JLL Capital Markets, which is representing Koelbel and Vitrian in the equity-raising effort.

The U.S. Highway 36 corridor between Denver and Boulder is home to almost one-third of Colorado’s biotech companies and research institutions, according to the Colorado BioScience Association.

In the past, Colorado has often lacked the facilities to accommodate major life-science players that might consider setting up shop in the region. But recently developers “have made significant investments in our communities to help address” the need for laboratory and flex-office space, CBSA president Elyse Blazevich told BizWest in an interview last month. “We now have more than 3.5 million square feet of lab space planned or in construction” throughout the state.

Many of those square feet are being developed or planned along the U.S. 36 corridor in places such as Louisville’s Redtail Ridge, the Coal Creek Innovation Campus in Downtown Superior and Flatiron Park in east Boulder. 



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