As Seen In BizWest – April 27, 2016

BOULDER – Denver-based Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners has bought back a Gunbarrel building it sold to Qualcomm just two years ago, as well as two additional parcels of land that the semiconductor company had owned since the late 1990s.

Etkin Johnson has already sold one of the newly acquired vacant parcels to Boulder development and property management firm W.W. Reynolds Cos.

Etkin Johnson paid Qualcomm $5.4 million for four parcels: a 51,082-square-foot building at 6150 Lookout Road and its adjacent parking lot at 5150 Lookout, a vacant 3.7-acre parcel at 6100 Spine Road and a vacant parcel at 6201 Spine Road.

Qualcomm still owns and occupies a pair of large office buildings across Spine Road to the south of the 6201 property.

San Diego-based Qualcomm had bought the 6150 Lookout building and its parking lot from Etkin Johnson in 2014 for $5.04 million. Qualcomm was a tenant in a portion of the building at the time and was eyeing adjacent suites for expansion, Etkin Johnson director of finance Derek Conn said Tuesday.

But a major companywide restructuring for Qualcomm last year led to 158 layoffs in Boulder.

“Due to some corporate restructuring on their end, they moved the unit that was working in that building to their property across the street, and we had the opportunity to buy it back,” Conn said.

Conn said the 35-year-old single-story building is vacant and that Etkin Johnson intends to essentially gut it and create a more modern, open office environment. He said lease rates for similar office/industrial flex properties are running between $12 and $15 per square foot on a triple-net basis.

“We believe that Gunbarrel is a natural destination for a lot of tenants that need additional space, have been driven out of (central) Boulder or are looking for an alternative,” Conn said.

Etkin Johnson’s only other property in Gunbarrel is the Celestial Seasonings distribution building at the northeast corner of 63rd Street and Spine Road.

As for the two vacant parcels purchased from Qualcomm, they are both zoned general industrial. Conn said Etkin Johnson has no immediate development plans for the 6201 Spine property it is keeping.

“We think it can create a strategic opportunity going forward for tenant amenities if there are additional parking requirements or the like (for the 6150 Lookout building),” Conn said.

W.W. Reynolds officials couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. But Conn said he believed the company is planning to hold the land at 6100 Spine for future opportunities. W.W. Reynolds already owns the building next door at 6060 Spine Road that is occupied by GE.