Budweiser owner puts land on market

A tract of land near the Budweiser plant in the northernmost corner of Fort Collins has the potential to become the area’s next rail-served industrial park, providing future tenants with access to both the Great Western Railway and Interstate 25.

But first someone has to buy it.

Asking price? Around $46.9 million for all 862 acres. Alternatively, a buyer could snap up a parcel as small as 10 acres at $54,450 per acre.

InBev, which purchased Anheuser-Busch in 2008, listed the land surrounding the Budweiser brewery — near the intersection of I-25 and Monte Vista Drive in Fort Collins — in the summer of 2010 but, so far, no takers have been found.

Anheuser-Busch purchased the land in the early 1980s and constructed its brewery on a portion of the property. Its plant employed approximately 700 in 2010, according to the latest figures available. After Belgium-based InBev acquired Anheuser-Busch, the company began shedding non-beer-producing assets, including its land holdings.

Anhseuser-Busch InBev did not return calls seeking comment.

Dan Eckles, one of the two listing brokers and a partner at Realtec Commercial Real Estate Services, said Yahoo! was among those who have looked at the property.

The search-engine company considered locating a data-storage facility on the site. Yahoo, however, was instead drawn to Wyoming, which was able to provide certain tax breaks, said Jim Mokler, another listing broker and partner at Realtec.

Beyond competition from other states, rival industrial parks have also posed a challenge.

Among them: the Great Western Industrial Park, a 1,800-acre rail-served park in Windsor.

“Great Western is shovel-ready, and this (parcel near Budweiser) needs infrastructure,” Mokler said. “There is a lot of potential for a rail-served park, but we need to find the right players to develop it first.”

Part of the draw to Great Western is its Great Western Railway, a short-line rail that connects Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific lines. But Great Western Railway also runs through InBev’s land, connecting the brewery with Owens-Illinois, a bottle manufacturer that serves Budweiser and is located in the Great Western Industrial Park.

Also working in favor of the Budweiser land is its proximity to both I-25 and State Highway 14. A small portion of the parcel, at the southeast corner does have sewer, water and power lines, Mokler said, making that area most likely to develop first, but the rest of the land still needs those basics.

The land is also priced to move, at around $1.25 per square foot, Eckles said. To compare, land in the Great Western Industrial Park, with rail system already in place, goes for between $2.52 and $5.96 per square foot, or $110,000 to $260,000 per acre, according to the park’s website.

Also, the area lies in the City of Fort Collins’ Mountain Vista sub-area plan, meaning approvals are in place for industrial development. The plan covers a 1,500-acre chunk of the city stretching from I-25 to as far west as Lemay Avenue in some places, as far north as County Road 54 and as far south as Vine Drive.

Mokler said he believes the property could also be suitable for retail. Large retailers, such as Costco Wholesale Corp., could locate there if the land was zoned differently, Mokler said.

Rumors that Costco would move into the Northern Colorado area have circulated through the community since 2008, when construction began on Gateway Timnath, located on the eastern frontage of I-25 and Harmony Road. Wal-Mart located at the northeast corner of that intersection in 2009.

Costco has remained mum on the possibility, citing company policy prohibiting comment on specific markets.

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