Under conditions that specify the former Agilent Technologies campus will house a tech-based manufacturing, research and product development center, Loveland city councilors late Tuesday approved its sale.
The $5 million agreement seems to pave the way for rapid development of the Aerospace Clean Energy Manufacturing and Innovation Park, or ACE, a project that brings NASA and a statewide manufacturing group together.
“Our goal is to move as fast as circumstances permit,” said Bill Murphree, senior vice president of Cumberland & Western Resources LLC, buyer of the property from the city.
“The sooner we get moving, the better,” he told councilors.
The deal came just three weeks after Kentucky-based Cumberland & Western emerged as the city’s pick to develop ACE at Agilent, in the 812,000 square feet of building space suitable for expansion on 130 acres. The city acquired the property from Agilent in June.
The closing on the sale is scheduled for “mid- to late December,” Murphree said.
Partners in the project, NASA and the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology, project that as many as 7,000 jobs will result in Loveland and another 3,000 in the region.
Those jobs would be with manufacturing companies who would convert patents controlled by NASA, federal laboratories and universities into new technology products.
A key piece of the purchase and sale agreement is a deed of trust specifying the property will be used “for technology-related research, development, manufacturing” and that the emphasis would be on “aerospace, clean energy, bioscience … and similar sectors of existing, emerging and new high-technology.”
That component locks Cumberland & Western, for five years, into concentrating on the development of Agilent as a tech manufacturing center instead of some less-desirable use.
“Our vision is to rejuvenate good-paying jobs for our citizens,” Mayor Cecil Gutierrez said.
Murphree replied: “Aerospace and clean energy are very timely and very appropriate” uses for the campus.
The company’s decision to buy the Loveland site, at the northeast quadrant of Taft Avenue and Southwest 14th Street, was based as much on “intuition and gut feel” as a detailed analysis of the site and the project planned for it, Murphree said.
“We were looking for a place with an upward trend, not a downward one,” he said. “You’re going to be a significant beneficiary of the problems that other parts of the country are dealing with.”
Cumberland & Western, based in Bowling Green, Ky., has made commercial real estate purchases nationwide with similar technology uses in mind.
A 2.1 million-square-foot, modern manufacturing plant in Macon, Ga., abandoned by the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, is one example.
Murphree said Loveland city officials made such strong first impressions on him and fellow Cumberland & Western executive Buddy Steen that their decision was an easy one.
“We always ask, ‘Are the people we’re involved with people that we want to do business with?'” he said. “The answer was yes. … You continue to delight us.”