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Emerald Workshops creates flexible, affordable workspaces

Emerald Workshops
Emerald Workshops will provide flexible space for retail, office and light-industrial businesses. (Independent Architecture)

After seeing its light-industrial holdings in North Boulder morph into a community of artists, craftsmen and “anything under the sun,” Boulder-based Emerald Management is bringing a new kind of product to the north Interstate 25 corridor.

Emerald Workshops, located on the west side of I-25 at Highway 52 in the fast-growing town of Frederick, will provide flexible, affordable workspace for a wide range of businesses. Designed to foster social interaction, the campus will offer large windows and glass garage doors that can be opened during nice weather. The parking area will have planters and benches where people can gather, with outlets so they can plug in their computers and work outdoors on sunny days.

Emerald Management has owned and managed light-industrial and retail properties in North Boulder since the 1980s.

“Our experience in Boulder taught us a lot about this typology, and when the opportunity came around to build something in Colorado, we wanted to do it in Frederick.Frederick is a really interesting place for us,” said Andrew Ghadimi, partner in Emerald Management. The location at 3540 Highway 52 isaround 20 minutes from Denver, Boulder, Longmont and Fort Collins, on two major highways, and just north of Amazon’s fulfillment center in Thornton, he noted.

Andrew Ghadimi

Andrew Ghadimi

“We saw a huge population that was growing there. Everywhere you look, there’s housing coming up, but there really isn’t a retail or office typology in the area. We thought this was an opportunity to offer a flexible space not just for mechanics, but for anyone,” he said, noting the first users will include a cross-fit gym, a church and a tax adviser.

Emerald Workshops will include 56 customizable units from 1,500 to 48,000 square feet, for lease or for sale. The first phase of seven buildings, averaging between 6,000 and 7,000 sf, will be ready for occupancy in June. The second phase will be a single, 48,000-sf building divisible into as many as 36 units.

Spaces will have 26-foot-high ceilings to accommodate equipment or a mezzanine level, so they’re adaptable for uses ranging from industrial to retail to office.

“What we’ve seen in many of the retail centers we manage is that retail is suffering, but this kind of showroom/fulfillment typology is emerging. People we would never expect to rent from us in the past are putting their showrooms in, and receiving online purchases and shipping directly out of their unit,” Ghadimi said.

The development was designed by Paul Andersen of Denver-based Independent Architecture.

“It was really important to us to provide something that was architecturally different than light industrial – architecturally different from any of the other developments you’re seeing in Colorado,” said Ghadimi.

“The buildings are a new take on Colorado’s historic architecture. They combine the false-front commercial architecture of the Old West with industrial construction that has been common since the 1960s,” said Andersen.

“We selected materials for their timelessness, durability and clean details – in the buildings and the surrounding landscape. The effect of our design approach is to strike a balance between familiar and new architecture, to make a place that is deeply connected to our region and, in its own subtle way, unlike any other commercial project.”

Units are available for rent at $12 to $13 per sf triple net and for sale at approximately $175 to $200 per sf.

“The Denver and Boulder metro area is becoming increasingly unaffordable,” said Ghadimi. “With the Emerald Workshops, we were inspired to provide the fastest-growing region of Colorado with unique and affordable space. We aim to cater to a wide spectrum of the community, from traditional workshops to digital entrepreneurs.”

Featured in CREJ’s March 6-19, 2019, issue

Kris Oppermann Stern is publisher and editor of Building Dialogue, a Colorado Real Estate Journal publication, and editor of CREJ's construction, design, and engineering section, including news and bylined articles. Building Dialogue is a quarterly, four-color magazine that caters specifically to the AEC industry, including features on projects and people, as well as covering trends…