Economy & Economic Development  July 16, 2015

Loveland courting Ohio-based EWI for former Agilent campus

LOVELAND — The city of Loveland has been working with state organizations during the past six months to determine if they can put together a plan to attract EWI, a high-tech manufacturing consulting and training organization, to set up shop at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology.

The center, owned by Cumberland and Western Resources, is the 800,000-square-foot former Agilent Technologies campus in Loveland that has been idle for the past four years. The city purchased the 300-acre property from Agilent for $5.5 million in 2011. The city kept 130 undeveloped acres adjacent to the Big Thompson River and city recreation trail as open space before selling five buildings and the remaining 170 acres to Bowling Green, Ky.-based Cumberland and Western.

Columbus, Ohio-based EWI, formerly known as Edison Welding Institute, uses engineering and technology to develop, test and implement advanced manufacturing methods for a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, defense, energy, government, heavy manufacturing, medical and electronics. The nonprofit organization is sustained from contract fees paid by companies tapping into its services.

Marcie Erion, business development specialist with the city of Loveland, said EWI’s presence will draw contract companies to lease space at the campus.

Erion has been working with Chris Conrardy, director of technology and innovation for EWI.

“We’re estimating it will take about $6 million in incentives to bring EWI here,” she said, pointing out that EWI’s presence will be a job-generating catalyst.

“Right now we are in the assessment phase,” she said.

Conrardy was not available for comment for this story.

Last December, the city of Loveland authorized $300,000 to perform a regional manufacturing and technology needs assessment and identify a business plan for EWI in Colorado. The $300,000 is coming out of Loveland’s Economic Development Incentive Fund. The current balance in the fund for 2015 is $450,000.

Erion said interviews have been conducted with manufacturing companies that may want to contract for EWI’s services and also set up shop on the former Agilent campus. She said the assessment is now moving to focus groups with 15 to 20 company leaders to gain more input.

“We expect to provide a report on our findings to the city in August,” she said.

Erion said the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association have also been involved to explore potential funding mechanisms at the state and federal levels, including the state’s advanced manufacturing grant program. She said the goal is to have funding mechanisms in place by January.

Erion said local and state groups have provided more than 100 tours of the former Agilent site — a mix of manufacturing and office space — to prospective tenants, but have had no takers.

“It’s difficult to justify lighting up a 120,000-square-foot building for one 10,000-square-foot tenant,” Erion said.

Last year, EWI was hired to operate the Advanced Manufacturing Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., a facility created to support the growth of Western New York’s manufacturing sector, as part of the Buffalo Billion initiative to spur economic-development opportunities in the region. EWI initially was housed in a building purchased by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus with an $8 million Buffalo Billion grant from Empire State Development. The agreement stipulated that BNMC provide, at no cost, space to house EWI for its startup operations and also provide $800,000 startup funding support for EWI.

LOVELAND — The city of Loveland has been working with state organizations during the past six months to determine if they can put together a plan to attract EWI, a high-tech manufacturing consulting and training organization, to set up shop at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology.

The center, owned by Cumberland and Western Resources, is the 800,000-square-foot former Agilent Technologies campus in Loveland that has been idle for the past four years. The city purchased the 300-acre property from Agilent for $5.5 million in 2011. The city kept 130 undeveloped acres adjacent to the Big Thompson River and…

Related Content