Government & Politics  April 18, 2022

Redtail Ridge saga comes to a head with Tuesday special election

LOUISVILLE — After more than two years; tens of millions of dollars spent on land acquisition, civil planning and lobbying; and a successful petition effort by its opposition, Denver-based developer Brue Baukol Capital Partners LLC is likely get some clarity Tuesday about how it can move forward with its Redtail Ridge project. 

Louisville voters are set to weigh during Tuesday’s special election whether previously approved plans to build as many as 3 million square feet of office, industrial and flexible-use buildings at the long-vacant, former Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) site off U.S. Highway 36 are allowed to remain in place. Conversely, voters can opt to strip the property of its approved planned unit development and revert Redtail Ridge to a past land-use designation that would significantly curtail the scope of a development. 

Redtail Ridge encompasses more than 400 acres along U.S. Highway 36 and Northwest Parkway. The site once housed Storage Technology Corp., which sold to Sun Microsystems Inc. in 2005 for $4.1 billion. Sun was acquired by Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) in 2010, and employees were shifted to Broomfield.

ConocoPhillips had acquired the site for a proposed clean-energy research park that was expected to generate 7,000 jobs, but the subsequent spinoff of Phillips 66 halted those plans, and the property was put up for sale.

Brue Baukol, which paid $34.93 million for the site, initially sought to turn the parcel into a 5.22 million-square-foot live-work development anchored by a new corporate campus for medical-device maker Medtronic Inc. and a roughly 1,500-home senior-living community operated by Erickson Living LLC. Additional planned components included offices, retail space and apartments. 

Medtronic skipped town for a nearby site in Lafayette, and locals spoke out against the housing portion of the project, arguing that thousands of new residents would strain city resources and exacerbate traffic congestion.

Brue Baukol went back to the drawing board and brought forth a scaled-back plan, which was eventually approved last year by the Louisville City Council, which applied a dozen conditions to its approval to further limit the scope of the project. 

After Redtail Ridge’s plans were approved, Centura Health’s Avista Adventist Hospital confirmed that it is under contract to purchase land in the Redtail Ridge development for a new hospital on the site.

Almost immediately upon the city’s approval of Redtail Ridge, opponents of the project cried foul and set about gathering 780 signatures, nearly double the amount required by the city, for a petition to force the Louisville City Council to reconsider.

Rather than reversing its decision to approve the Redtail Ridge plans, the council opted early this year to send the matter to the voters in a special election scheduled for Tuesday.

The ballot measure asks voters to decide: Shall Louisville Ordinance No. 1811, Series 2021, An Ordinance Approving the First Amendment to ConocoPhillips Campus General Development Plan (Redtail Ridge Master Plan), be approved?

A “Yes” vote allows Redtail Ridge developer Brue Baukol Capital Partners LLC to move forward with its plans for the property. 

A “No” vote would result in the site reverting to its previous land-use designation, which is more restrictive than the plan approved by the Louisville City Council in 2021 after more than a year of debate and public hearings.

The special election has been contentious, with lobbying groups formed both in favor and in opposition to the plan. Both groups have accused the other of underhanded tactics in the lead up to the election.

Yes for Louisville, the pro-development faction, raised a total of $55,617.23 in monetary and in-kind contributions ahead of the March 30 financial disclosure deadline and another $37,261.99 between the end of March and April 15.

Of the total funds raised, more than $80,000 of in-kind donations came from Brue Baukol, including about $50,000 in marketing services from consultancy The Strategy Division.

Opposition group Citizens for a Vibrant Sustainable Louisville raised $1,425.85 in during the first reporting period and $854 during the second. For more information about Tuesday’s vote, visit Louisville’s elections website.

LOUISVILLE — After more than two years; tens of millions of dollars spent on land acquisition, civil planning and lobbying; and a successful petition effort by its opposition, Denver-based developer Brue Baukol Capital Partners LLC is likely get some clarity Tuesday about how it can move forward with its Redtail Ridge project. 

Louisville voters are set to weigh during Tuesday’s special election whether previously approved plans to build as many as 3 million square feet of office, industrial and flexible-use buildings at the long-vacant, former Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) site off U.S. Highway 36 are allowed to remain in place. Conversely,…

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