BizWest’s most-read stories of 2019: drug plants, new homes, headquarters expansions

As Northern Colorado and the rest of the country prepares to enter 2020 and a new decade, we at BizWest Media are looking back at the 10 most popular pieces written over the course of the year. These stories are ranked by total page views.

The drugmaker giant announced it would close down its two production plants in the Boulder Valley in January as part of a supply chain consolidation, leaving 210 workers without jobs in the area. The Longmont plant was later purchased (see #6 below), but the Boulder plant remains out of operation.

State economic development officials granted a $4.3 million tax package to what was later revealed to be Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR)

In one of the biggest land acquisitions of the year, 430 acres of undeveloped space in Louisville was acquired by Irish medical device maker Medtronic Inc. to consolidate its offices across the Boulder Valley. The company plans to break ground in 2020.

The property was slated in 2008 to house a renewable energy research complex for oil company ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), but the project petered out after spinning off Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) into an independent company. State officials also pitched the land to Amazon Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) during that company’s sweepstakes search for a second headquarters location.

The real estate developer bought the former headquarters from Hewlett Packard Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) in May for $21 million. The east-side Fort Collins building is occupied by Madwire, Comcast and Micro Focus.

Aerospace companies beefed up significantly in the Front Range last year, with Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL) announcing it would hire 600 new employees for its aerospace division and build a regional 186,000-square-foot campus in Westminster. The company plans to keep employees at its Boulder and current Broomfield headquarters.

Shortly after AstraZeneca’s departure from Longmont, Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) and its subsidiary AveXis Inc. bought the 692,000-square-foot plant to ramp up production of Zolgensma, its gene therapy targeted at children with spinal muscular atrophy. AveXis has been one of the most-watched and most-criticized companies in the biopharmaceutical world this year for charging $2.1 million for the drug, and drawing the ire of federal regulators who found tampering with some of the drug’s animal testing data.

A Fort Collins developer announced initial plans for a new subdivision in southeast Fort Collins, with 153 single-family homes and 62 duplexes on nearly 60 acres of space.

Also in Fort Collins development news, a Windsor homebuilder started its final round of applications to build 442 homes on the city’s northeast side by fall 2020. Townhomes in the Northfield subdivision would run between $200,000 to $400,000, while others would cost between $300,000 to $400,000.

House Bill 1240 revamped the state’s tax collection code by requiring e-retailers such as Amazon to collect sales taxes on purchases made within Colorado, even if a company doesn’t have a physical store in the state.

Phoenix-based Banner Health brokered a deal to buy the Greeley hospital from Weld County and a county-controlled holding company for $328.4 million, ending years of an operator agreement between the health system and the publicly-held medical center. A total of $209.5 million was used to buy the hospital and the underlying land, while about $50 million went to Weld County and NCMC Inc., which owned the hospital, to be used for charitable goals.

As Northern Colorado and the rest of the country prepares to enter 2020 and a new decade, we at BizWest Media are looking back at the 10 most popular pieces written over the course of the year. These stories are ranked by total page views.

The drugmaker giant announced it would close down its two production plants in the Boulder Valley in January as part of a supply chain consolidation, leaving 210 workers without jobs in the area. The Longmont plant was later purchased (see #6 below), but the Boulder plant remains out of operation.

State economic development officials granted a $4.3 million tax package to what was later revealed to be Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR)

In one of the biggest land acquisitions of the year, 430 acres of undeveloped space in Louisville was acquired by Irish medical device maker Medtronic Inc. to consolidate its offices across the Boulder Valley. The company plans to break ground in 2020.

The property was slated in 2008 to house a renewable energy research complex for oil company ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), but the project petered out after spinning off Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) into an independent company. State officials also pitched the land to Amazon Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) during that company’s sweepstakes search for a second headquarters location.