Loveland’s loss possible gain elsewhere

Economic development officials expressed a measure of renewed interest Friday in the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology’s Aerospace and Clean Energy initiative following the group’s decision not to develop a research and manufacturing park in Loveland.

CAMT announced Thursday plans to develop the center at the old Agilent Technologies plant in Loveland had fallen through and the center now will look for a new home, probably in the Denver-Boulder area.

The news took local economic development experts by surprise Thursday, but some said they remain intrigued by the possibility of luring the center to their cities.

Longmont director of economic development Brad Power said the city will examine what CAMT is looking for and might submit location ideas if they meet the organization’s criteria, once those criteria are released.

“We would certainly take a look at it, but it’s far too early to tell,” Power said.

Longmont submitted a proposal last year before CAMT decided on Loveland. If CAMT is interested in existing buildings, Longmont has potential candidates, but if it wants to build a new building, it might not, Power said.

The change in CAMT’s plans also was news to Boulder Economic Council executive director Clif Harald. Boulder is an unlikely candidate because of its chronic lack of space.

“I suspect if they’re still looking at something of the scale that ACE is today, I can’t imagine there would be a place large enough for it in Boulder, especially when you consider the competition that already exists for space here,” Harald said.

Maintaining its original vision, where dozens of companies would share facilities, was key to CAMT’s decision, the association said in an update to members.

“CAMT is committed to the full vision of the ACE Park, which includes a multitenant facility with shared resources and equipment for scaling up manufacturing of new technologies for aerospace and clean energy. We are currently identifying other potential locations in the Denver/Boulder area for the ACE Park,” the organization said in an email.

CAMT said the developer that bought the property from Loveland was moving in a direction that didn’t fit the project, though it provided no more detail.

CAMT marketing and communications director Merrily Hill Smith said in an email no additional information about the park is being released at this time. CAMT is pushing forward on other parts of the initiative, such as hiring a NASA technology transfer and licensing specialist, Smith wrote.

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