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After Election Defeat, Louisville's Redtail Ridge Reverts Back To 2010 Plan

A special election in Louisville, Colorado dealt a blow to local developers seeking to build on 430 acres.

One of the largest and most storied development sites along metro Denver’s northwest corridor will be developed according to a plan formulated over a decade ago after residents rejected a more updated development plan in a special election last week.

Voters rejected new plans for Redtail Ridge, a mixed-use development planned for a long-vacant parcel in Louisville that was formerly home to StorageTek, one of the earliest tech companies to establish a major presence in the area.

Brue Baukol Capital Partners, the owner of Redtail Ridge, said after the election that it would seek no more land use changes to complete the project as it had envisioned after acquiring the 430-acre parcel along Highway 36 and Northwest Parkway in 2020.

The company’s initial plans would have built more than 5M SF on the land, including office, retail and apartments, as well as senior housing and a new hospital campus for Centura Health. Plans were also in the works for a corporate campus for medical-device maker Medtronic, but fell through after the company chose nearby Lafayette instead.

Instead, Brue Baukol intends to follow a plan set out by a prior owner that allows for the construction of 2.5M SF, though the company is no longer beholden to certain sustainability and open space promises it made as part of its larger plan.

Louisville City Council last year conditionally approved a scaled-back version of that plan — to the tune of 3M SF — which was immediately met by resistance from a group of residents who did not like the project’s new density goals and successfully petitioned for the council to reconsider. Instead, the city council sent the matter to the voters, who rejected the plan by about 350 votes.

Shortly after the results of the election became apparent, Brue Baukol released a statement indicating that it would develop the land according to a 2010 general development plan created by former owner ConocoPhillips.

ConocoPhillips purchased the land in 2008, following SunMicrosystems’ acquisition of StorageTek in 2005. With plans to create a state-of-the-art research campus employing 7,000 people, ConocoPhillips had the attention of every economic developer on the Front Range, as well as many commercial real estate professionals awaiting a new employment hub that would change the face of metro Denver.

But ConocoPhillips scrapped the plans amid a corporate restructuring and general economic hardship following the 2008 recession, leaving the future of the site once again an unanswered question.

A big chance came again in 2017 when the site was included in the metro area’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2, but those hopes were dashed when the e-commerce giant chose the Washington, D.C., area instead.

Brue Baukol, a local commercial real estate firm founded by two longtime brokers in the area, Chad Brue and Geoff Baukol, purchased the property for about $35M, a marked discount from its 2008 price, with big plans for the site’s future that now must be scaled back by half.