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Publish Date: 5/10/2005

Mead lands auction house
Ritchie Bros. to relocate publicly traded company


MEAD — A $50 million auction company announced Monday it has plans to relocate its Colorado sales block to a high-traffic site on Interstate 25 in Mead.

Acknowledging that Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers would be a boon for the town, Mead leaders shaved six months from the approval process for the publicly traded auction company, which has outgrown its 39-acre Brighton operation.

Mead officials — in a 3-1 vote, with Trustee Bob Acker dissenting — agreed that the parcel Ritchie Bros. wants to develop will not have to go back to the voters for rezoning.

“I think it’s a fabulous opportunity for the town,” Mayor Richard Kraemer said.

He said sidestepping the voters will allow Ritchie Bros. to push through the planning process in about 60 days, or about six months faster than it would if the company had to put the issue on the ballot.

“It’s totally changed from what the Mead voters approved,” said Liz Knapp, president of the Mead Area Chamber of Commerce, calling for town leaders to send the parcel back for rezoning. “I realize it’s money. There’s more to life in this town than money. We talk about what an upscale community we want to be and then we talk about this?”

The company, which sells industrial equipment from 90 locations worldwide, Friday put a contract on a 164-acre parcel south of Colo. Highway 66, which voters in October 2002 annexed partly for residential development.

The company’s estate contract for the Sanborn property allows only 75 days to complete the rezoning, one of the reasons the board agreed to let Ritchie Bros. proceed without taking the issue to the people. The Sanborn annexation is bordered on the west by the frontage road that runs parallel to I-25 and by the future Weld County Road 9 1/2 on the east.

Ritchie Bros. property manager Robert Thompson said that if the company is allowed to expand in Mead, he expects it to hold up to six auctions per year. The auction company’s March sale in Brighton raked in about $22.9 million.

According to town calculations, if that sale had taken place in Mead and half of the merchandise was taxable, it would have generated $220,000 in sales tax for the town.

Jenn Ooton can be reached at 303-684-5295, or by e-mail at jooton@times-call.com.

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