Government & Politics  May 29, 2024

Brighton council extends incentives agreement to battery manufacturer Amprius

BRIGHTON — The former Kmart distribution center that has been the subject of revitalization with a California-based planned lithium-ion battery manufacturer will take an extra year to get off the ground.

The Brighton City Council voted last week to extend an incentives agreement with Amprius Technologies Inc. (NYSE: AMPX) of Fremont, California, until June 1, 2025. It was previously due to open this week.

The company has planned to lease 775,000 square feet of the 1.3-million-square-foot property at 18875 E. Bromley Lane. The company has received approval for incentives from the city of Brighton, Adams County and the Colorado Economic Development Commission. But Brighton councilors voted 4-2 last week to extend the agreement for the year after a plea from City Manager Michael Martinez. 


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He said not meeting the June 1 deadline was a shared responsibility in which due diligence could not be completed because of the many complexities involved. 

“We were incentivizing (the company) to come here,” Martinez told the council. “If this incentive agreement doesn’t pass tonight, that could jeopardize the deal. … The incentive was a part of the original reason it chose to come to Brighton.”

The council agreed to rebate the company half of the use tax that otherwise would be collected in the redevelopment of an existing building. Use tax on the project estimated to cost $54 million would total about $1.01 million. Half that amount, and the maximum under the deal, would be a rebate of $506,250. In addition, the city would commit to refund 100% of the property tax it would otherwise collect on the facility. In total, rebates of the two taxes would total about $929,500. The state Office of Economic Development and International Trade previously committed $5.9 million in job-growth credits

The company would add up to 332 jobs in the city at an average pay of $69,458, with the plant operational by 2025. Its products will be used in electric vehicles, drones, and by the aerospace industry.

Resident Jessie Williams, a neighbor to the planned factory and a vocal opponent of the plant, said the delay is a common theme for the company, and the council should consider this one a glaring red flag.  

“What other internal issues is it not going to get control over?” she asked. She said since the plant has been rezoned, the company has focused its efforts elsewhere. “Why is Brighton not being prioritized? … Don’t kick the incentive can down the road.”

Two council members voted no on extending the incentives. 

“I have a problem with this on a couple of levels,” said Councilman Jim Snyder.  “I still don’t think we understand the complexities of what we are putting in this building. If it was asking for 90 days, that would be one thing. But it’s asking for a year.” 

Councilman Matt Johnston said a lot can happen in a year, even within the company. He said he would prefer to revisit the issue in a year instead of holding onto something that might not come to fruition.

Councilman Chris Fiedler, who voted for the extension, said he didn’t want to see this deal go south, but he also didn’t want to be here in another year with the company asking for yet more time. “I would be a no vote.”

In a May 10 earnings call, Amprius officials reported it has made progress on the Brighton plant. “We have completed 30% of construction, design, drawings, and specifications for the facility and have taken several regulatory steps including submitting our site plan and advancing all other regulatory plans and applications for the facility,” said Kang Sun, CEO of Amprius.

In the call, company officials noted that they had introduced a SiCore battery, which complements SiMaxx, the company’s existing silicon nanowire platform. Officials reported “the SiCore platform services applications that demand both high energy density and longer cycle life, offering up to 400 watt-hour per kilo and as many as 1,200 cycles at the full depth of discharge,” Sun said.

With those innovations and the market’s strong reaction, Sun said, “we have updated our plans for the Brighton facility to redesign our initial production line” to be focused on SiCore. 

“While we have long known that our products are yet to be matched at the commercial level, we are proud that the industry is taking notice as well,“  Sun said. “It is clear that our recent customer expansion and the new industry recognition signals a strong start to 2024 for Amprius. We are working hard to expand our production capacity to meet our sizable demand, and we are confident in the path forward for Amprius.”

Brighton has extended an incentives agreement with Amprius Technologies until June 1, 2025. It was previously due to open this week.

Sharon Dunn
Sharon Dunn is an award-winning journalist covering business, banking, real estate, energy, local government and crime in Northern Colorado since 1994. She began her journalism career in Alaska after graduating Metropolitan State College in Denver in 1992. She found her way back to Colorado, where she worked at the Greeley Tribune for 25 years. She has a master's degree in communications management from the University of Denver. She is married and has one grown daughter — and a beloved English pointer at her side while she writes. When not writing, you may find her enjoying embroidery and crochet projects, watching football, or kayaking and birdwatching on a high-mountain lake.
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