This story first ran on BizWest.com, a BusinessDen news partner.
Amazon.com Services, an affiliate of the major online retailer, has purchased a parcel of land near the Northern Colorado Regional Airport for $9.4 million, potentially paving the way for a massive distribution center.
The land was sold by a collection of family trusts including the Marian Johnson revocable trust, the Kay T. LaBau living trust and James R. McCreery revocable trust. The transaction closed March 3.
The land was annexed into Loveland city limits Sept. 7 after a proposal by the Trammell Crow Co., which has worked with Amazon on previous developments around the country.
The 151.8-acre parcel is zoned as a planned urban development, with a proposed extension of Byrd Drive, a two-lane arterial road from the north to south end of the property. Documents from the application indicate the western half of the property is zoned for heavy logistics, indicative of a high volume of truck traffic.
The heavy logistics zoning would enable construction of buildings up to 125 feet tall and require one parking space for every 2,500 square feet within any building. The plat map filed ahead of an Aug. 9 Loveland planning commission meeting calls for a 35-acre parking lot.
In August, BizWest reported that the proposed facility could be as large as 2.4 million square feet. The western half of the property is closer to the airport, while the eastern side abuts the frontage road adjacent to Interstate 25.
Ron Kuehl, broker with Realtec Commercial Real Estate Services, handled the transaction for the sellers. He told BizWest that he had been working on a deal for about four years, the past three in direct negotiations with the buyer.
“The long negotiating period resulted from the extensive infrastructure necessary to bring utilities and roads to the site,” Kuehl said.
He was not able to offer details about the buyer’s plans. “The user is in the process of developing the site. The amount of excess land that may become available is not known at this time and the user won’t know if there’s excess land until completion of the building in 18-20 months,” Kuehl said.
Langan International LLC, another contractor that works with Amazon, proposed several short-term and long-term improvements to the site. In addition to the Byrd Drive extension, short-term plans include adding a water detention pond and crossing Louden Ditch to connect Byrd Drive to Larimer County Road 30. Long-term plans for the site include proposing a traffic signal at a potential future intersection between Byrd Drive and Colorado Highway 392.
Loveland heavy industrial zoning requires exterior walls longer than 100 feet to be articulated, or have recesses. Some members of the City Council expressed concern at a meeting Sept. 7 that loading docks would be visible from the east, but no amendment was made.
Amazon representative Caitlin Polochak declined to comment on the purchase.
“We have a policy of not commenting on our future roadmap and are not yet commenting on any specific operations plan,” Polochak said in an email.
Loveland officials did not return phone calls to comment about the project.
Workers for a Safe Larimer County sued the city of Loveland in October, alleging that the city did not produce an Annexation Impact Report when annexing the parcel. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice in December.
The potential Amazon site would join new fulfillment centers in Aurora and Colorado Springs, which employ thousands of people. The Colorado Springs Airport’s Peak Innovation Park, which includes a 3.5 million-square-foot Amazon warehouse described in one report as “one of the largest warehouses in North America,” is said to employ more than 1,000 people.
East Loveland is already home to a smaller Amazon distribution center at 4555 Viking Way.