LONGMONT — A Boulder-based developer may purchase the Longmont armory property on North Main Street, but only if he receives approval to build townhomes and a grocery story at the armory in Boulder.
Jim Loftus, owner of Loftus Developments LLC, signed a letter of intent with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to purchase Boulder’s 81/2-acre armory at 4750 Broadway. The purchase of Longmont’s 11/2-acre armory at 1512 Main St. would be included in the deal, Loftus said, but so far he has pursued only the Boulder property.
“As of today, we have no real thoughts on (Longmont),” he said.
The state wants to sell both properties together, including the outdated 1954 building that houses the Longmont armory, to generate enough funds to consolidate the two units into a newly constructed facility, said William Robinson, the deputy director of the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. A single building would reduce utility and maintenance costs and increase efficiency, he said.
A real estate agent representing the state has identified 17 potential properties along the Interstate 25 corridor between Longmont and Boulder, and in Brighton, to relocate the combined facility, he added.
“The Boulder armory is worth a lot more (than Longmont’s) because of where it is, but we don’t think it will generate enough money to build a two-unit armory, which is our preference,” Robinson said.
Loftus’ willingness to purchase both armories depends on whether he receives approval for higher-density zoning at the Boulder property, where he hopes to build a 56,000-square- foot supermarket and about 200 townhomes or live-work studios.
Other developers could make offers for the Longmont and Boulder properties during the one-year review period, but the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs isn’t soliciting other offers, nor does it anticipate any more, said Deborah Roberts, construction and facility management officer for the agency.
The location of Longmont’s armory falls within the city’s Midtown Redevelopment Plan, which recommends vertical mixed-use residential for that area, with retail on the bottom and condominiums or offices on top, says Ryan Kragerud, a senior planner with the city.
The buyer can either remodel the existing building or build a new one, he said.
The city’s plan, developed by Leland Consulting Group in Denver, doesn’t have regulatory power, but following the guidelines will help spur positive developments throughout Main Street, he said.
“We would like to see more retail and more office use along Main Street,” Kragerud said.
Competition with other states for the limited funding available in the Army National Guard Military Construction Program spurred the dual armory deal, Roberts said.
Going through traditional channels can take nine years to receive the funds and build the facility, she said, whereas financing a new armory by selling two aging buildings lets the National Guard build within three years of a sale.
This year, National Guard units nationwide requested $1.1 billion for building new armories, but only $400 million worth of projects were funded, Robinson added.