Boulder Brands plans downtown Boulder HQ expansion

BOULDER — Boulder Brands Inc. announced Thursday it is expanding its headquarters in downtown Boulder to support the addition of 50 new employees and create room for a test kitchen plus training and education classrooms.

Boulder Brands (Nasdaq: BDBD), a health-and-wellness food company, will occupy three floors at 1600 Pearl St., increasing the amount of space it leases there from 18,000 square feet to 43,000 square feet.

The additional 25,000 square feet will be used for office and meeting space as well as a test kitchen for research and development of products, according to Caroline Hughes, a Boulder Brands spokeswoman. She said the added jobs, which will be filled in the future, primarily will be for administration, sales and marketing staff.

Boulder Brands’ headquarters is on the third floor and houses about 80 of the company’s 800 employees, Hughes said. The third floor was built last year by owner and landlord Unico Properties LLC for Boulder Brands. The new space is on the ground floor and the basement. The first floor has been vacant since 2007 when Borders Bookstore moved to the Twenty Ninth Street retail district, before closing that location in 2011.

The need for additional space arose in response to Boulder Brands’ growth and recent acquisitions, including the $48 million purchase of Boulder-based Evol Foods in December. Its offerings include the Glutino, Udi’s Gluten Free, Earth Balance, Level Life and Smart Balance brands.

In its most recent earnings report for the period ending June 30, Boulder Brands’ revenue was $131.3 million, up from $110.7 million for the same period a year ago. Net income was $2.8 million, or 4 cents per diluted share, down slightly from $3.1 million, or 5 cents per share, in the second quarter last year.

Its stock was trading at $13.70 per share Thursday. The stock’s 52-week range has fluctuated from $11.01 to $18.46.

“This expansion will support the rapid growth Boulder Brands has experienced,” Steve Hughes, Boulder Brands’ chairman and chief executive, said in a prepared statement. “After moving to 1600 Pearl last October, we quickly filled up the third floor space. Our team loves this office and location, so it was important to us to both expand in the same building as our headquarters and to remain in downtown Boulder.”

In March, Boulder Brands was approved to receive up to $60,000 in rebates for a range of fees, equipment- and construction-use taxes and permit-related fees from the city of Boulder, through one of the city’s business incentive programs.

Realtor Chris Boston of Gibbons-White, who represented Boulder Brands in the lease transaction, said several options for expansion sites were explored, but Boulder Brands was set on staying in downtown Boulder. “Negotiations took eight months,” he said.

Boulder-based Surround Architecture, headed by Tim Laughlin and Dale Hubbard, will design the new space. The architects also designed the third floor for Boulder Brands. Boston said construction on the interior renovation is expected to begin in October and be completed by late January.

David Workman, property manager at Seattle-based Unico Properties’ office in Boulder, represented Unico in the lease deal. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.