News Column

Hewlett-Packard May Sell a Portion of its Colorado Springs Campus

May 31, 2013

Tech giant Hewlett-Packard appears ready to sell about one-third of its scenic, 365-acre campus on Colorado Springs' northwest side, according to documents the company has filed with city planners.

The Palo Alto-based HP, whose history as part of Colorado Springs' technology industry dates to the early 1960s, recently submitted plans to the city's Land Use Review Division that show the company wants to replat about 200 acres of its property. HP's campus is northwest of Interstate 25 and Rockrimmon Boulevard and south of the Rockrimmon neighborhood.

The replat would create four parcels:

- A 47-acre parcel that includes a 28-year-old 300,000-square-foot office building;

- A 21-acre parcel with a 250,000-square-foot corporate data center, built in 2009;

- Two vacant parcels, totaling almost 128 acres. Last year, HP demolished a two-building, former manufacturing plant that had occupied at least a portion of the vacant land.

In the documents it submitted to the city, HP states that "the replat supports the sale and redevelopment of the vacant properties."

HP declined to comment on the documents or its plans for the vacant land.

"HP continually reviews its real estate portfolio to best use its space," said spokeswoman Lindsey Berryhill. "This initiative allows HP to achieve long-term efficiencies and cost-savings. However, I cannot at this time give further specifics about future plans for HP's real estate in the Colorado Springs area."

Berryhill also said she couldn't comment on the status of the remaining 167 acres of the HP campus not included in the replat request.

The HP property is tucked up against the city's foothills and is adjacent to Ute Valley Park. The property was owned by Digital Equipment, which manufactured high-capacity disk drives used in mainframe computers.

Compaq Computer acquired Digital in 1998 and merged with HP four years later.

HP has been a technology mainstay ever since Pueblo native David Packard selected Colorado Springs as a site for a new division more than 50 years ago. In the 1960s, the company had facilities along Garden of the Gods Road; those operations were later spun off into what is now Agilent Technologies.

Like many tech companies, HP has downsized its Springs' operations and workforce over the years. HP's operations on its 365 acres include a research group, sales and marketing. The size of its current workforce is unknown, although the company had employed as many as 2,400 in the 1970s.

If HP sells the nearly 128 acres, the property could be a prime location for industrial use, said David Bacon, a broker with Sierra Commercial Real Estate in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs lacks well-located, industrial sites on the city's north side. While many companies have located on the southeast side near the Colorado Springs Airport, other employers prefer to be near higher-end neighborhoods and scenic areas on the north and northwest sides, he said.

Those companies might like the HP land as a home for research and development operations or light manufacturing and light assembly -- businesses that would have minimal truck traffic, Bacon said.

"I think we as a community are searching for those types of companies that would be attracted to come here," Bacon said.

"But we sure as heck need to have the inventory of land and the proper zoning, or we'll never see them. We'll never be in the running."

Source: (c)2013 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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