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Rangeview campus nearly done, 98 percent full

By Steve Porter

LOVELAND - Crop Production Services will move about 280 corporate-level employees in mid-June into the Rangeview office park, occupying the last and biggest of four planned office buildings.

CPS will lease the 82,381-square-foot Rangeview Four building in Centerra's north-central portion just south of Centerra Motorplex.

Ron Kuehl, vice president of real estate for Centerra developer McWhinney, said the first Rangeview building broke ground in 2001 and opened for occupancy in 2002.

"This kind of completes the footprint for the (Rangeview) campus," he said.Kuehl said additional building construction in the vicinity of Rangeview will depend on market demand, but there are no plans for such construction at present.

The three-story, $18 million Rangeview Four was built by general contractor Delta Construction; Brinkman Partners is completing the tenant finish.

Kent McDaniel, CPS director, said the company will maintain a presence in Greeley with 20 to 25 manufacturing jobs. McDaniel said moving into the spacious Rangeview Four opens the possibility of more jobs coming to Centerra.

"We'll probably be adding some positions," he said. "We just don't know at this point."

CPS is the retail subsidiary of Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, which claims on its website to be the largest agricultural retailer in the U.S. and a leading global producer of industrial products and agricultural fertilizers.

Agrium purchased CPS - formerly known as United Agri Products - in 2008.

Nearly totally occupied
CPS announced its relocation from Greeley to Centerra last year. It will make the company the latest tenant setting up operations in the 3,000-acre multi-use development. The move to Loveland was sweetened by a $300,000 cash incentive from the Loveland City Council approved in May 2009.

Another Agrium unit - Agrium Shared Services - moved into an 8,000-square-foot space in Rangeview Three in late 2009.

Kuehl said Rangeview Four will seek LEED Silver certification, as was earned by Rangeview Three. He noted that the Sky Pond office building also earned a LEED Silver certification and Medical Center of the Rockies, owned by Poudre Valley Health System and opened in Centerra in 2007, is one of only two hospitals in the nation to earn LEED Gold certification for its construction.

Kuehl said Centerra has added roughly 750,000 square feet of LEED-certified space within the last two years.

"McWhinney is certainly committed to building sustainable properties," he said. "We're trying to integrate that into all of our projects."

In March, McWhinney broke ground on Lake Vista, a 300-unit luxury apartment development just south of Rangeview. Lake Vista is expected to be ready for occupancy in late fall or early winter of this year.

Meanwhile, Abound Solar announced last month that it is expanding its presence in Centerra, occupying an additional 15,000 square feet at 3755 Precision Drive. The company already had a 7,500-square-foot corporate office in Rangeview Two.

Kuehl said of the 240,000 square feet in the four Rangeview buildings, only 3,500 square feet will be left unoccupied after Crop Production Services moves in.

"We're at 98.5 percent occupancy in the campus," he said. "That's a good feeling, especially in these times. Only 18 months ago we had a vacancy of 62 percent in three buildings."

Bumps along the way
Despite Centerra's recent success in attracting new tenants, starting new projects and completing its Rangeview campus, the development has had some difficult moments in the last two years.

Plans for Grand Station, a 1 million-square-foot, mixed-use development envisioned for just east of the Promenade Shops at Centerra, were put on hold in late 2008 following the national financial meltdown; groundbreaking is still on hold.

And the Promenade Shops, which includes more than 60 shops and pulls in legions of shoppers, has been under foreclosure since November and is facing a possible auction sale this year. The development on the east side of I-25 is owned by Centerra Lifestyle Center, a partnership between McWhinney and Poag and McEwen, which manages the center. The foreclosure action was brought by lender KeyBank against Poag and McEwen for defaulting on a $116 million loan.

The action does not directly include McWhinney.

Last July, McWhinney announced it was laying off 13 employees and reorganizing the company due to the ongoing recession.

Despite those bumps, Kuehl said Centerra continues to move forward because of its diversification - with everything from a hospital campus to single-family homes - along with numerous lifestyle amenities.

"If you're on property at Centerra, you can walk out of your home and have access to trails and lakes, medical services, restaurants, shopping - virtually everything is here on site," he said.

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