UK pharmaceutical research firm to open in Boulder

BOULDER — A new company in Boulder is bringing British expertise in the world of pharmaceutical research to other biotechnology companies along the Front Range.

Origin Pharmaceutical Services Ltd., a contract research organization based in the United Kingdom, is opening an operation in Boulder.

?We are opening officially on June 1,? confirmed Origin’s Brenda Fielding, a regulatory affairs professional with more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology industry. ?What we basically do is to perform for start-up companies all the work they need to do to take their drugs to the Federal Drug Administration, either to get permission to start clinical trials or to get the drug actually approved. We provide all the ancillary services that go with that process from negotiating with the FDA to compiling all the documentation and managing the development, clinical and research program.?

Origin is moving into 3,200 square feet at 4840 Pearl East Circle, formerly occupied by UCAR. NaPro, another pharmaceutical business that is moving in from Gunbarrel, will take the remaining space in the 13,000 square foot building.

?We’re giving up some old space and taking on some new space,? said Gordon Link from NaPro’s Boulder office. ?Part of the activity is going to our manufacturing facility on Sterling Drive, and part of it is going to Pearl East Business Park. We have cut down on some of our manufacturing operations and made some cutbacks in staff and excess manufacturing capacity. We’re sort of rightsizing our facilities, if you will.?

Charles Gee with Gibbons-White landed the lease. He was pleased to see a company come in from the UK to start operations in Boulder.

?Origin is doing some work with NaPro, that was the client that I represented in their relocation. I think the story here is that the economic conditions for space in central Boulder is become more attractive. It’s allowing companies to get back to the core,? Gee said. Fielding, who is heading up the Boulder team, will be one of five regulatory professionals in the office initially.

?It’s a fascinating business, especially here in Boulder. We’ve all been in the area for a long time now, working for other companies. We had an opportunity to go off on our own and support the companies working in the area. Frankly, hiring people like us is a pretty expensive proposition to bring in-house so we are outfitting ourselves as a virtual department. It was largely driven by a desire on our part to remain in the area and continue the work that we are already doing.?

Although the office will begin by focusing strictly on regulatory affairs and drug development consultancy, the company plans to add clinical operations services focused on early-phase development in the near future, according to Origin’s Managing Director, Steve Smith.NONLINEAR EXPANDS: One of the region’s leading companies focusing on liquid crystal optical devices has expanded its facility at 450 Courtney Way. Boulder Nonlinear Systems has increased the total square footage of its facility by 50 percent, allowing for a significant increase in production capacity. With the expansion, the company’s working area now covers approximately 15,000 square feet.

?We are expanding our commercial business. In order to do that, we needed to take on new space so we could expand our clean room and manufacturing facilities. It worked out nicely because the company that was sharing space in this building left, and we were able to take over its space,? said Kelly Goranson, the company’s marketing manager.

The company makes liquid crystal devices for optical computing, telecommunications, medical imaging and research applications. That broad range of customers has given BNS an advantage in the current market, according to Goranson.

?Sales are going surprisingly well,? Goransan said. ?In this economy, it’s nice to not only maintain our business base but to be able to grow it as well. I think it is partly because we were not locked into one particular industry and our base of customers is pretty diverse. We weren’t just working with telecom or medical or military. We have been able to support all those different kinds of industries.?HAIR COLOR EMERGING: Audrey Berne of The Colorado Group has signed lease for 6,970 square feet at 1711 Pearl St. The tenant, a franchise operation that will do business under the name Hair Color Experts, signed a five-year lease.

?They have begun the construction process for the building,? Berne said. ?The landlord contributed some money to the effort but the company is doing it themselves. It will be a full buildout for a retail hair salon.? Dale Hickey will be the local franchiser for the Florida-based company.SALE ON PEARL: Berne is also pleased with the recent sale of 1928 Pearl St., which she closed this month for $689,000.

?It’s a freestanding brick, Victorian-type building of about 2,400 square feet,? Berne said of the transaction, which is part of the East End Condominium Development. Andrew Freeman of Freeman & Associates co-brokered the deal.

?The buyer is The Ranch House, which is an interior design company for resorts, and the seller is Intergroup, which is also an interior design company. That’s why the building worked so well for them since it is the same type of business,? Freeman said.CROSSROADS UPDATE: Westcor executives returned from Las Vegas upbeat about the future of Crossroads Mall. Westcor, the Phoenix-based arm of Macerich, which owns most of the mall, is charged with designing, building and managing the next incarnation the mall. The executive team spent three days schmoozing with potential tenants at ICSC 2003, the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention.

?Our leasing agents had three days of non-stop meetings every half hour,? said Dave Scholl, Westcor’s senior vice president of development. ?From what I could gather, it was a very productive convention for Macerich and Westcor.?

According to Scholl, Westcor is on the ?third or fourth iteration? of the redevelopment plan that it submitted to the city of Boulder planning department as a part of the pre-application phase. The plan will continue to be revamped until the concept plan review and public hearing, which are scheduled for late June, Scholl said.

But the exact lineup of tenants won’t be known for a while. ?We will never reveal the names of the merchants in a city submittal,? Scholl said. ?Names will be revealed when leases are signed,? typically 12 months before a grand opening, which is about two years off, according to Westcor’s timeline.

Anchor tenants may be signed earlier, Scholl said, and their names released in the next year.SPACE FOR SALE: Freeman also is trying to move two buildings in Boulder at 6797 Winchester, previously occupied by ILX Lightwave and up for $3.9 million, and 6185 Arapahoe, currently occupied by Crosslink and up for sale at $2.7 million.

?We have recently listed these two buildings for sale because there is just so much space for lease,? Freeman explained. ?It decreases the amount of product that you compete against. On 6185 Arapahoe, the owner has always been adamant against selling since he owns it free and clear but with this market, he feels he is better off than potentially waiting to see if we can find someone to lease the building.?BALL AEROSPACE EXPANDS: The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has completed negotiations for the expansion of its facility at 1640 Range St. in Boulder. The company will have a total of 13,928 square feet. Lynda Gibbons and Scott Reichenberg of Gibbons-White took Ball through the process while Ken Gooden from Staubach handled the sale.GUNBARRELPARASCRIPT CONSOLIDATING: Andrew Freeman has nearly finished leasing 6899 Winchester in Gunbarrel with the addition of a 20,000 square foot lease by the Parascript Corp. The company is consolidating out of three buildings in Boulder and is leasing the entire second floor of the high-end office/R&D building in the Gunbarrel Tech Center. Parascript produces its Total Recognition software that analyzes handwriting and translates it into text for clients such as the U.S. Post Service, Chase Manhattan Bank, and TIAA-CREF.

?This 20,000 square feet is said to be one of the largest transactions in the Gunbarrel market this year,? Freeman said. ?It’s a pretty rare development because there is a huge vacancy rate for these types of buildings, but we fortunately have been successful at securing leases.?

?I think at the end of the day, Parascript leased the building based on a number of features,? Freeman explained. ?It has very nice unobstructed western views and obviously, access-wise, it’s very convenient to be just off the diagonal highway. It has some upper-end finishes in terms of the lobbies and the bathrooms and so forth as well. They built the property to really take advantage of the views so there is some very nice window design throughout the property which, for some reason, seems to be an attractive amenity that you don’t see in many other properties in the market.?

Parascript will be moving in Sept. 1, according to Audrey Berne of The Colorado Group, who represented the tenant. The 40,000-square-foot building has only 12,000 square feet remaining.HEATING & AIR MOVES: Freeman also handled the move of Charles D. Jones Company, a heating and air conditioning supply company, into 6,600 square feet at 4725 Nautilus Court in Gunbarrel.

?The company has been around for years in its previous location on 55th Street,? Freeman said. They needed more space and wanted to upgrade their facilities so Nautilus Court ended up working very well for them.? Prestige Printing previously occupied the space. LONGMONTCOLLEGE CONSOLIDATES: Marty McElwain of Pratt Properties has finalized the lease arrangements for Front Range Community College’s long-term plans to consolidate. The college is moving its four Boulder County sites to a single campus in Longmont. The institution recently leased 117,896 square feet in two buildings formerly occupied by Maxtor Corp. that include 92,396 square feet at 2121 Miller Drive and the nearby 25,500 square-foot building at 2190 Miller Drive.

?The lease was signed earlier this month, and they will take occupancy Aug. 1,? McElwain confirmed. ?They expect to be ready to go by the start of the fall term. This has been ongoing for the better part of six to eight months. The primary benefit of what they’re doing is that, for the most part, they get everybody under one roof. The 90,000 square foot building at 2121 Miller Drive will be used primarily for classrooms and the smaller building at 2190 Miller Drive will be used for administration, faculty and some classrooms.?

The school has signed a 7-year lease on the property, which is undergoing nearly $2.5 million in renovations.WESTMINSTERWAL-MART EXPANSION: The discount retail giant on Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster is planning a significant expansion that will involve converting the existing store to a superstore. The plan includes adding a full-service grocery and other amenities to the retail center, and the Arkansas-based company projects gross sales to increase from $58 million to $85 million in the first full year of operation following the construction. The city of Westminster is contributing a business assistance package of $3 million to aid the project.LOCKHEED RELOCATION: Aerospace leader Lockheed Martin is relocating its Enterprise Service Desk Division from the North Valley Tech Center to a four-story office complex at Church Ranch Corporate Center, where it will lease 20,000 square feet. The division employs 105 people and expects employment to grow to 150 employees by 2008. The city of Westminster has approved further business assistance for the move in the amount of $22,025.LOUISVILLEFLOWERS WITH FLAIR: Frederick Ross has extended a lease on 1,400 square feet in the Centennial Center at 316 South McCaslin Blvd. to Flowers with Flair, a local floral company.INGALLS EXPANDS: Following its last November, Ingalls Engineering has completed the expansion of its facilities. The company, which manufactures automotive aftermarket products specific to wheel alignments, moved from Cherry Street in Louisville to a new building in the Colorado Tech Center at U.S. 287 and Dillon Road.

?We expanded considerably,? said Tom Brown, National Sales Manager for Ingalls Engineering. ?When we moved in, we more than doubled the size.? The company employs over a dozen personnel.