Koelbel and Vitrian to create biomanufacturing center outside Denver

Joint venture would convert a former Lowes store into a life science facility in Louisville

Koelbel and Vitrian to Create Biotech Center Outside Denver
From left: Vitrian’s Scott Nudelman and Sam Johnson; Koelbel and Co. CEO Carl Koelbel; 1171 West Dillon Road in Denver (Getty, Vitrian, Koelbel and Co.)

MAR 19, 2024, 2:03 PM

By TRD Staff

Koelbel and Vitrian are turning a former Lowe’s home improvement store outside Denver into a biotech and manufacturing center.

The locally based developer teamed up with the Maryland-based life sciences developer to convert the 134,400-square-foot store at 1171 West Dillon Road, in Louisville, from retail to manufacturing, the Denver Business Journal reported. 

The facility is expected to open in August.

The new hub for pharmaceutical work or advanced manufacturing would be 21 miles northwest of Denver and 10 miles east of Boulder, home to biotech research at the University of Colorado Boulder campus and local firms.

The industrial building is expected to serve tenants in manufacturing, pharmaceutical/biotechnology, cleantech, aerospace or other advanced industries, with spaces divided down to 30,000 square feet, according to Vitrian.

The area is considered among the top five U.S. markets for research jobs, the leading place for chemical engineers and the fourth- and sixth-best area for biological scientists and biological technicians, the companies said.

The Centennial Valley Innovation Center, as the new facility will be known, would sit across from U.S. 36 where developers plan to build 273,000 square feet of life science research labs, plus apartments, shops and restaurants on 10 acres in Downtown Superior, according to the Business Journal.

The project, led by San Diego-based PMB and Montgomery Street Partners, expects to open in 2026.

The Lowe’s conversion is expected to open much sooner. The building is owned by Lowes HIW, and valued at more than $3 million, according to the county assessor.

Lowes, which bought the land in 1996 when it built the Louisville store across the street from a new Home Depot, closed the store last year when it opened another store in nearby Lafayette.

Koelbel and Company, a family firm founded by Walter Koelbel in 1952, has developed a portfolio of commercial and residential properties across Colorado, as well as Texas and Georgia, according to its website. 

Vitrian, founded by Scott Nudelman and Sam Johnson in 2022 in Bethesda, provides capital and facilities for life sciences companies, with active projects in Maryland, Colorado, Texas and West Virginia, according to its website.

— Dana Bartholomew