Westminster, not Broomfield, for DGI

LONGMONT – Satellite-imagery company DigitalGlobe Inc. plans to move its global headquarters to a 480,000-square-foot building in Westminster next summer rather than build it in Broomfield.

The Longmont-based company (NYSE: DGI) plans to move to 1300 W. 120th Ave. in Westminster, according to an announcement made Wednesday morning. Avaya Inc., a telecommunications company currently affiliated with the building, is expected to lease at least a portion of it to DigitalGlobe, said Susan Grafton, economic development director at the city of Westminster.

A large architectural feature at the front of the building looks like a satellite dish and is visible for miles to southbound travelers on Interstate 25.

The city of Westminster offered the company a package of economic incentives to locate its headquarters, including rebates on things such as permit fees and some taxes, Grafton said. The final package has not been finalized, Grafton said, declining to give further details. Grafton said city officials had been talking to DigitalGlobe representatives “for a long time” about a potential move.

“We’re supportive of the project and very much excited about it happening and coming to Westminster,” Grafton said. “This is a positive to have a global headquarters in the north metro area, and all of us will be benefitting.”

In September, DigitalGlobe executives said the company would build a 400,000-square-foot headquarters building with room for 1,300 employees in the North Park development at I-25 and Colorado Highway 7 in Broomfield. Broomfield economic development officials offered incentives to the company, which were not made public.

Longmont representatives also offered DigitalGlobe an economic incentive package worth an undisclosed amount.

DigitalGlobe chief executive Jeffrey Tarr characterized Wednesday’s announcement as the culmination of “an unexpected series of events.” DigitalGlobe’s previous plans in Broomfield were made through a nonbinding letter of intent, according to a company press release put out Wednesday morning.

“We regret any disappointment to the cities and partners associated with our previous announcement,” Tarr said in the press release. “We could not have anticipated this change in our relocation plans, but are pleased with the benefits the Westminster facility offers.”

Broomfield officials are “very disappointed that DigitalGlobe has chosen to go in a new direction,´ said Bo Martinez, director of economic development for the city and county of Broomfield. “But we’re very proud that we put our best foot forward for them to locate in our community.”

McWhinney commercial real estate representative Jay Hardy was supportive of DigitalGlobe’s unexpected change in plans that will put the global headquarters in Westminster rather than Broomfield. McWhinney is developing the North Park campus.

“Although the location chosen was not one of which McWhinney is affiliated, the fact the company will remain in Colorado and will employ primarily Colorado residents is definitely something we are very happy about,” Hardy said in an email response to questions.

The building in Westminster has infrastructure in place that requires less capital investment from DigitalGlobe than the Broomfield site would have, according to Nancy Coleman, a spokeswoman in Longmont. She said the number of employees expected to be based at the new location will be announced soon.

DigitalGlobe expects to maintain a footprint in the Longmont location for an unspecified period of time after the move to Westminster. In addition, DigitalGlobe will keep its offices in Herndon, Virginia; Tampa, Florida; London and Singapore among others.

DigitalGlobe got the OK for as much as $4.4 million in state tax rebates in June if the company creates 435 jobs in Colorado over the next five years, according to a spokesman at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Company representatives said at the time that they were looking at staying in Longmont or moving to Broomfield or Westminster to accommodate potential growth.

DigitalGlobe Inc. in September reported a 48 percent increase in revenue for the second quarter that ended June 30 compared with the same period a year ago.

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