Dirt moving has begun on the site of the new Medtronic corporate campus just south of the SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette. Lucas High/BizWest.

Medtronic begins Lafayette legacy with campus groundbreaking

LAFAYETTE — It might not look like much now: flat earth dotted with piles of dirt and heavy construction equipment.

But by late next year, this vacant 42-acre tract just south of the SCL Health Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette will be home to one of the world’s hubs of medical-device innovation. 

“Maybe some folks here today hadn’t heard of Lafayette before this project,” Lafayette mayor Jamie Harkins joked during a groundbreaking ceremony at the future site of Medtronic Inc.’s new corporate campus. 

Medtronic, a medical-device maker with operations in Louisville and Boulder’s Gunbarrel neighborhood, will consolidate its local business into 400,000 square feet of new office and laboratory space spread across two, five-story buildings. Of that, 60,000 square feet will be dedicated to research and development, a 10,000-square-foot increase over Medtronic’s current R&D footprint in the region.

“We’re here today to continue innovation, to continue to advance our R&D on a global scale,” Medtronic CEO Geoff Martha said. “… Outside of Minneapolis, this will be our biggest site in the United States.”

The campus will be home to employees from business divisions including surgical innovations, patient monitoring, respiratory intervention, gastrointestinal and cranial and spine technologies.

Medtronic has about 2,300 employees in Colorado, and roughly 1,100 will relocate to the Lafayette campus. The remainder will continue working out of Medtronic manufacturing facilities in Boulder.

Workers in the new campus will hold a number of roles, including research and development, marketing, sales, finance, human resources and other support functions, Medtronic executive vice president Bob White said. 

“We’re able to attract a great workforce here — highly educated, skilled, collaborative people who care about the community,” he said.

In addition to the quality of the local labor pool, Medtronic was interested in Colorado’s geographical location in the center of the country and Lafayette’s location between Boulder and Denver.

“There’s a reason why we chose this place. We’re one flight away from anywhere in the United States from this particular location,” Medtronic executive vice president Brett Wall said. “… When you talk about Colorado, everybody wants to come here.”

Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade executive director Pat Meyers said he’s thrilled about the “valuable jobs and global recognition” the $130-million-plus project will bring to Lafayette.

“My economic analysis of this: So cool!” he said with a grin.

It was never a given that Medtronic would opt to build its new campus in Lafayette. In fact, the company first targeted neighboring Louisville.

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, which has since been scaled back. 

The Medtronic project in Lafayette, which did not include any other elements such as housing or retail, cruised through the city’s approval process this winter. 

Molly Ryan Carson, a senior vice president with Medtronic’s construction contractor Ryan Cos. U.S. Inc. thanked city leaders and the community “for jumping in and sprinting with us” as plans morphed late last year. 

Ryan, through holding company Ryan Lafayette LLC, bought the Medtronic site this month for $8.5 million.

Dillon Road LLC, an entity registered by Rebecca Gleason, controlled 50% of the site and received $4.25 million, Boulder County property records show.

The University of Colorado Foundation, a nonprofit fundraising organization for CU, controlled 40% of the site and was paid $3.4 million.

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley had the smallest share of the site with 10% and received $850,000, deeds show. 

In anticipation of the move to Lafayette, Medtronic sold its seven-building, 453,565-square-foot flex-office campus and nearly eight acres of undeveloped land in Gunbarrel late last year to investment group Crescent Real Estate LLC for $36.5 million. Medtronic is now leasing back the space from its new owners until the new campus is complete, although the company will continue to operate a portion of the site for manufacturing operations.

White anticipates the first employees to move in around fall 2022 with the campus fully occupied by winter 2022. 

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