One-On-One: Brigid Keating, economic development manager for the city of Lafayette

Each month, BizWest asks a business leader to participate in a question and answer feature to help shed light on a business topic, an industry or add insight to a field of endeavor. This month, Brigid Keating, economic development manager for the city of Lafayette, discusses the status of her community’s development projects.

BizWest: The Medtronic announcement was big news for Lafayette. How do you see that process  going? Specifically, how might city officials and others help Medtronic navigate the  development process so the project doesn’t get hung up like it did in a neighboring community? 

Keating: Being in an economic downturn nationally, this would not only be a big win for Lafayette but also for Boulder County and Colorado. Medtronic’s proposed campus could create 500-1,000 new quality jobs in finance, administrative, human resources, clinical, research and development, and engineering. 

I think one of the reasons why Medtronic is interested in Lafayette is that the site is not part of a larger master-planned development. Unlike the Redtail Ridge campus [in Louisville], Medtronic would be the only entity on the proposed Lafayette parcel. By being the only piece to the puzzle, the entitlement process is much more straightforward and less complicated to finalize. 

I think it’s also important to note that the proposed site is really poised for this type of  development. By being in close proximity to U.S. Highway 287, Northwest Parkway, and U.S. Highway 36, employees have great access to the site without increasing commuter traffic downtown. The campus is also adjacent to the Good Samaritan Hospital that has similar building heights. While we are  just at the beginning stages of the project, we look forward to a robust and thoughtful public  process. 

BW: Do you anticipate that Lafayette will offer economic incentives to secure the deal with Medtronic? If so, what might be the criteria? 

Keating: By locating in southern Lafayette, the proposed Medtronic campus is in a Colorado Enterprise  Zone. Created by the state legislature, the program provides state income tax credits for businesses that locate in economically distressed areas. I anticipate that Medtronic will likely participate in this state program as well as the already approved performance-based incentive package by the Colorado Economic Development Commission. To date, Lafayette has not discussed any additional incentives as part of the proposed project. 

BW: What philosophy does Lafayette use with regard to development, recruiting employers and sales tax payers and so forth?

Keating: We strive to take a thoughtful approach with any project or decision. It means asking ourselves… Does this make sense for Lafayette? Does it promote or discourage the sense of  place we have worked so hard to create? Looking at the community overall, how will this impact the balance of other aspects of Lafayette living — such as attainable housing and equitable human services. Also, does this fit in our long-range planning efforts to meet goals? With every decision that we make, it’s important that the city is transparent and that all stakeholders have  a seat at the table. 

BW: How is Lafayette attempting to position itself in order to differentiate it from other communities in the region?

Keating: Lafayette is unique in that small businesses are really at the heart of our diverse and eclectic community. At the same time, we have a strategic advantage with our location and being a regional destination. You can be in Boulder in 15 minutes or Denver International Airport in 35 minutes. By balancing primary employment with small businesses, Lafayette has sustained a  strong and diverse economy. 

BW: What are the strengths of the community with regard to business growth?

Keating: Lafayette maintains a small-town livability while also being regionally connected. It’s a great place to start your first business or expand an existing one. I think this can be attributed also to the city leadership and staff. We want to serve our community, which means being available  and ready to problem solve. This can be just as valuable as economic development incentives. 

BW: What are the weaknesses? 

Keating: While I don’t see it as a weakness, I believe we have an opportunity to continue to create and invest in workforce development. With the prospect of Medtronic, we need to always be thinking about the next generation. By investing in our community and school systems, we can prepare our future workforce with the necessary skills to get the job offer 

BW: Is there anything else what readers should know about with regard to economic  development in Lafayette? 

Keating: I went to a ribbon cutting earlier this week for a new bookstore in Old Town. This was a big win for Lafayette also. It’s important to remember that economic development is much more than just revenues and attracting businesses. It is about investing in our residents and creating a vibrant and inclusive city. With thoughtful and targeted development, Lafayette can continue to thrive as an equitable, resilient, and sustainable community. It can actually be a place where you can live, work, and play.

Each month, BizWest asks a business leader to participate in a question and answer feature to help shed light on a business topic, an industry or add insight to a field of endeavor. This month, Brigid Keating, economic development manager for the city of Lafayette, discusses the status of her community’s development projects.

BizWest: The Medtronic announcement was big news for Lafayette. How do you see that process  going? Specifically, how might city officials and others help Medtronic navigate the  development process so the project doesn’t get hung up like it did in a neighboring community? 

Keating: Being in an economic downturn nationally, this would not only be a big win for Lafayette but also for Boulder County and Colorado. Medtronic’s proposed campus could create 500-1,000 new quality jobs in finance, administrative, human resources, clinical, research and development, and engineering. 

I think one of the reasons why Medtronic is interested in Lafayette is that the site is not part of a larger master-planned development. Unlike the Redtail Ridge campus [in Louisville], Medtronic would be the only entity on the proposed Lafayette parcel. By being the only piece to the puzzle, the entitlement process is much more straightforward and less complicated to finalize. 

I think it’s also important to note that the proposed site is really poised for this type of  development. By being in close proximity to U.S. Highway 287, Northwest Parkway, and U.S. Highway 36, employees have great…