Smartwool to remain in Steamboat through 2019 before heading to LoDo
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Lower downtown Denver will become the new home for Smartwool, a company spokesperson said this week.
“We are going to be right in the heart of LoDo just a couple of blocks from Union Station,” Molly Cuffe, Smartwool’s director of global communications, said Thursday afternoon. “It’s a great part of Denver — there is a lot of energy and a lot of redevelopment happening down there.”
Cuffe said the building at 1551 Wewatta St. is being renovated into the new headquarters for Smartwool, The North Face, Altra, JanSport, Eagle Creek and parent company VF Corp.
She said Smartwool is expected to be located at its current location at the Steamboat Springs Airport through mid-December with a moving period that might stretch to February 2020.
She said the new building is located within walking distance of Union Station, giving employees of the company access to public transportation, which should make getting in and out of the city easier.
“There are a lot of positives in that particular area, and it’s a really vibrant part of the city,” Cuffe said.
Last summer Smartwool’s parent company, VF Corp., told company leadership that the brand’s headquarters would be relocating to the Denver metro area within the next two years.
The move comes as VF leadership announced its intention to split into two publicly traded companies. VF will maintain control of Smartwool, Vans, Reef, Timberland and the company’s other outdoor, active wear and work wear brands. A new, unnamed company, will operate VF’s denim brands — Lee and Wrangler jeans. This change left VF with no brand ties to the company’s headquarters in North Carolina.
The move is expected to bring more than 800 employees to the Denver area in return for $27 million in state incentives over eight years, according to an article in the Denver Post.
“I met with them maybe a month ago and they advised me that their move in Denver was taking longer that anticipated and they would likely remain at the airport terminal building through 2019,” said Steamboat Springs City Manager Gary Suiter. “That was good news for us, because we had budgeted our rental revenue for only half the year assuming that they would be out sometime this summer. That will help the airport’s revenue line item.”
Suiter said the city has not actively started marketing the airport building. He said there have been some internal conversations, but there have not been any in-depth, public conversations with Steamboat Springs City Council yet.
“It’s beautiful office space,” Suiter said of Smartwool’s current headquarters. “Our top priority is to locate an aviation business, or it would also be great if we could land aerospace business there … if we get aviation or aerospace, it does not require an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration.”
If the city found a tenant outside of aviation, it would have to get approval from the FAA before moving forward with the lease.
Suiter expects the city to begin looking for a new tenant for the building before Smartwool leaves in December.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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