Government & Politics  February 1, 2021

Lafayette planning leaders give nod to Medtronic campus plans

LAFAYETTE — About four months after its plans to build a new corporate campus in Louisville hit a wall during the approval process, medical-device maker Medtronic Inc. — so far, at least — seems to be on track to get the project underway next door in Lafayette.

The city’s Planning Commission passed a series of measures late last week that recommend approval of the campus, which would be located on a roughly 42-acre parcel just south of the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, northeast of the interchange of Northwest Parkway and U.S. Highway 287. That parcel had previously been eyed by Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) for a new retail store location prior to the Great Recession, but those plans were scrapped during the economic downturn. 

The public hearing shed some new light on details of the project previously unreported last year when Medtronic submitted its sketch plan to the city. 

The campus, planned to be built in two phases, will consist of 600,000 square feet of office spread across three, five-story buildings that will be linked by two, three-story connector buildings. 

The project will also include 2,393 parking spaces.

Phase one of construction, expected to start this spring to be ready for its first occupants in early 2022, is planned to include two of the five-story buildings and two of the three-story

connector buildings plus 1,693 parking spaces, all site landscaping, infrastructure, and solar car canopies.

“The Medtronic design would be similar in massing, scale, form, and function to the hospital,” planning documents show.

To start construction, Medtronic needs approval of its site plan, zoning change and planned unit development. Currently, zoning at the vacant site allows for buildings of up to 35 feet tall. Medtronic’s plans call for the highest point to be 92 feet. 

Medtronic will move its existing operations and employees from Louisville and Gunbarrel to Lafayette. It recently offloaded its seven-building, 453,565-square-foot flex-office campus in in Gunbarrel in December. The new facility will house as many as 3,000 workers with about 1,000 of those representing new hires. The average salary of a worker at the new campus would be $130,000, according to planning documents. 

“We continue to invest in our business and our people during this economic downturn,” Medtronic global facilities vice president James Driessen said. “… Adjacent to the Good Samaritan Hospital, this development could advance Lafayette, Boulder County and the state of Colorado as a hub of science workers.”

The project does not include any residential component but is expected to generate $600,000 for Lafayette’s affordable housing fund upon full build-out. 

Medtronic has the “full support” of Good Samaritan to move forward with the campus, the hospital group’s vice president of development Peter Benkowski said, adding that he looks forward to continued cooperation between the organizations such as using the campus to host medical professionals being trained to use new devices. 

The main criticism of the project came from attorneys representing Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners, the owners of another adjacent parcel, who worried that roadway infrastructure would encourage drivers to use its parking lots as a cut-through to U.S. Highway 287. Beyond this issue, Ektin’s lawyers said the firm supports Medtronic. 

If Lafayette can see the project through the approval process, it will achieve what officials in Louisville could not.

The Medtronic campus was initially planned to be part of the Redtail Ridge development at the long-vacant Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) property adjacent to U.S. Highway 36, but the company backed out of the development as local residents and city leaders balked at the scope of the ambitious proposal.

In May, revised plans called for a total of 5.22 million square feet of new construction, down from previous plans of 6.4 million square feet. Of that current total, 2.25 million was planned for office uses, 1.8 million for a roughly 1,500-home senior-living community operated by Erickson Living LLC, 200,000 for hotels, 70,000 for retail and 900,000 for residential rental units.

Scaled back Redtail Ridge plans now include 3.1 million square feet and no residential element.

“From a business perspective, Medtronic’s plans in Lafayette are not tied to a bigger project, which makes it much less complicated than previous plans,” SCL Health director of public relations Gregg Moss said. “We hope this makes the regulatory process easier in Lafayette.”

LAFAYETTE — About four months after its plans to build a new corporate campus in Louisville hit a wall during the approval process, medical-device maker Medtronic Inc. — so far, at least — seems to be on track to get the project underway next door in Lafayette.

The city’s Planning Commission passed a series of measures late last week that recommend approval of the campus, which would be located on a roughly 42-acre parcel just south of the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, northeast of the interchange of Northwest Parkway and U.S. Highway 287. That parcel…

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