Niwot/Gunbarrel Business

Case Logic expanding at BTC

By Chris Wolf

Business Report Correspondent

GUNBARREL - The Boulder Tech Center (BTC) might be viewed as a past version of Boulder County's vision of itself, with a scant six parcels around a circular drive facing west toward the venerable IBM plant and the Indian Peaks.

Originally plotted in 1985, the property, at the northeast corner of the Diagonal Highway and Colorado Highway 52, was set amid miles of grass and farmland with approximately 70 percent planned as buffer or open space.

A series of replots brought that percentage back into sync with current growth possibilities along the Diagonal. Today, the Monarch Business Park lies adjacent to the BTC on the east and has beaten it to build-out. All eight of the Monarch Business Park's parcels are complete; residential development in Niwot is encroaching from the north; and the Gunbarrel Tech Center is less than a mile south. "I think it's exceptionally well located," said Don Unkefer, who, with various partners, is a primary builder of the BTC. "Obviously IBM thought it was a good location.

"It's about midway between Boulder and Longmont, with Highway 52 going straight out to I-25. It's accessible for shipping and transportation, and it's a very rural setting with open space and hiking trails nearby. It's sort of an ideal situation."

Although it was the second building to go up in the BTC, the 158,000-square-foot Case Logic building is still the most visible. Completed in 1991, the Case Logic building is about to burst at the seams under the strain of the company's consistent double-digit growth.

To meet its growing needs, the company is planning to break ground on a new building and the last remaining parcel in the BTC, according to Case Logic Vice President of Operations Grant Johnston. The site of the new building lies adjacent to Case Logic's present building. "We are planning to develop that property, and our plans have been pre-approved by the county," Johnston said.

Case Logic owns the seven-acre parcel it plans to build on, but the nine acres where its present plant now sits, as well as the plant itself, is owned by Northstar Associates, a Vail developer. Case Logic manufactures storage and carrying cases for audio and video equipment. The company was founded by Jamie Temple in Boulder in 1984. In 1991, he sold the company to the Dutch Hagemeyer Company, which recently announced plans to sell to KRG Capital of Denver.

Johnston said the trials of dealing with regulation-intensive Boulder County are offset by the amenities offered by the park. "It's an outstanding location and an ideal environment," he said. Unkefer recently completed construction of the last of six office, research and development buildings between the BTC and Monarch Business Park. His MUM LLC companies own a number of properties in both business parks.

In the BTC, Unkefer owns a 60,000-square-foot building occupied by Vapor Tech and a 61,000-square-foot building occupied by Helix Technology Corp. In the Monarch Business Park, he owns a 30,000-square-foot building occupied by Plastic Technologies, a 27,000-square-foot building occupied by Dynamic Design, a 52,000-square-foot building occupied by Horizon Organic Dairy and another 52,000-square-foot building occupied by Veris. In addition, Unkefer owns business property with several partners on Arapahoe Avenue and on North Broadway in Boulder. He also owns property in Arizona and Washington state.