First Purpose-Built, Speculative Life Sciences Development Coming to Boulder County

A rendering of Coal Creek Innovation Park, courtesy of CBRE.

CBRE has been awarded the leasing assignment for a 365,000-square-foot life sciences project being developed in the heart of downtown Superior by PMB, a leading healthcare real estate developer, and Montgomery Street Partners. Named Coal Creek Innovation Park, the project will be the first purposefully built to accommodate life sciences research and development in Boulder County, an area with historically low vacancy and high demand for lab space.

Initial plans call for three office/lab buildings ranging in size from 85,000 sq. ft. to 150,000 sq. ft. and the fourth building with ground-floor retail, amenities and structured parking. The buildings will have 16-ft. floor-to-floor heights and flexible infrastructure to accommodate office, lab and R&D uses. Shared lab services will be available to all tenants, including RODI water, dedicated laboratory water, compressed air, glass wash, and a lab waste system. The new facility will break ground in Q2 of 2023 and be complete in Q3 of 2024

CBRE’s Nelson Udstuen and Erik Abrahamson are leading leasing efforts.  

“Life sciences companies have extremely specific and technical needs for their space. Coal Creek Innovation Park is purposefully designed with these in mind—from 100% outdoor air return in the lab areas to generator back-up and expanded electrical load capacity. A biotech company that locates here can focus exclusively on its science as its real estate needs are already met,” said Udstuen, senior vice president with CBRE. 

The project will also have a gym with showers, bike rooms, shared conference facilities, and views overlooking the new Creek View Park and the Flatirons beyond.

“PMB and Montgomery Street Partners are thrilled to have this rare opportunity to bring a meaningful life science asset to Boulder County and to contribute to the already vibrant ecosystem of innovation in the area. Downtown Superior will provide an ideal context of infrastructure, neighborhood amenities, shops, dining, homes, and access to Boulder County open space, which will allow future life science tenants to perform cutting-edge research, recruit top-tier talent and grow with purpose,” said Bill Jencks, senior vice president at PMB. 

Coal Creek Innovation Park will build on a wave of development occurring in downtown Superior, located along the US-36 corridor between Denver and Boulder. The Superior Medical Center and Sport Stable are blocks away, and a slew of residential and mixed-use projects are under construction and scheduled to be completed in 2023.

The project will tap into life sciences talent from across the region. The development is 10 minutes from Boulder and 25 minutes from Denver. Earlier this year, CBRE conducted an analysis of the top U.S. markets for life sciences talent. The Denver/Boulder region was named the 11th best market overall with the number of life sciences researchers increasing 20 percent from 2015 to 2020. The region led the rankings in one specific metric: Denver/Boulder is home to the greatest absolute number of bioengineers and biomedical engineers in the country. Similarly, Boulder has ranked No. 1 on Bloomberg’s Brain Concentration Index since the index launched in 2016.

“Life sciences companies are looking to the Boulder/Denver region as a place where they can plant their flag or grow their operations. They are attracted to Colorado’s highly educated and skilled workforce and ecosystem of educational and research institutions. While historically it has been difficult to find available lab space in Boulder County, projects like Coal Creek Innovation Park are helping to change that,” added Abrahamson, senior vice president, CBRE.

Vacancy among Boulder life sciences properties stood at just 0.3 percent at the end of the second quarter, according to CBRE research. On the demand side, the market has maintained over 1 million sq. ft. of active life sciences tenant requirements for nearly two years.

“There is a significant unmet need for institutional-quality space, with the existing inventory largely comprised of small‐scale (<60,000 sq. ft.) converted single‐story flex product, which offers limited expansion opportunities for high‐growth and/or more mature life science companies. Coal Creek Innovation Park will fill the purpose-built lab space void in the market, delivering almost 400,000 sq. ft. of R&D-specified lab space in Boulder County. We are also providing a combination of a generous tenant improvement allowance and up to 50,000 sq. ft. of speculative lab space to meet the needs of the market,” said Ben Rosenfeld, senior vice president of development, PMB.

The Town of Superior’s Board of Trustees approved the Final Development Plan for Coal Creek Innovation Park this month. Ground could break as early as the second quarter of 2023. The first buildings will be completed in 2024.

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