CoorsTek closes 112-year-old Golden plant, launches 12.4-acre redevelopment


One of the largest redevelopment projects in Golden’s history is being undertaken by a family closely identified with the city.

CoorsTek, owned by the family that started what became Coors Brewing Co. in Golden, is going to transform its 112-year-old manufacturing plant on the north end of downtown into a mix of office, retail and residential uses. The roughly 1.3 million-square-foot project is expected to take 10-plus years to complete and will fill about five city blocks over 12.4 acres.

All or parts of the site’s oldest buildings will be incorporated into the project, which includes plans for apartments, a 150-room hotel and CoorsTek’s global headquarters. Crews have boarded up the windows, fenced off the site and are disassembling structures and removing the asbestos used during decades of construction.

On a recent walk around the property, Michael Coors, one of three family members who lead CoorsTek, said among the plant’s products were pottery, semiconductor parts, armor for soldiers and military vehicles, and equipment for energy production.

The plant also made labware, spark plugs and ceramic and metal components for various industrial uses.

Adolph Coors started the Golden Brewery in 1873 with Jacob Schueler. The Coors family still owns part of Molson Coors, formed in 2005 with the merger of Canadian-based Moslon and Coors. CoorsTek is wholly owned by the family.

Adolph Coors acquired Herold China and Pottery Co., renamed the Coors Porcelain Co. and eventually rebranded CoorsTek. It has 28 manufacturing sites across the world and is involved in scientific research and development.

CoorsTek employs about 1,200 people in Colorado. The last materials produced at the original plant were shipped in June.

Repurposing the site is exciting, Coors said. “It will be part of the next 100 years of our company’s history.”

The first phase of work will be the renovation of the plant’s first structure, a 1910 brick building, to house CoorsTek’s headquarters with a potential move-in date of late 2025. The space will be from 120,000 to 150,000 square feet and might include other tenants.

“Members of the family thought it was important that the most historically significant buildings be preserved and be part of the future of CoorsTek,” said Dan Cohen, president of AC Development. 

This historic image provided by Coors, ...
LEFT: This historic image provided by Coors, ca. 1942 shows people in front of Building 1, looking west from across Ford Street in Golden. (Photo provided by Coors) RIGHT: Dan Cohen, AC Development President and CoorsTek project representative, left, and Michael Coors, CEO of CoorsTek, Inc. right, stand in front of Building 1 at CoorsTek, Inc along Ford Street on Aug. 22, 2022, in Golden. The old brick building is the oldest building on the site, built in 1910. The building will be one of a few that will be renovated and preserved in the redevelopment of the site. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

The Coors family started AC Development in 2020 to redevelop the industrial site. The company will be the project’s owner and operator. Michael Coors is on the board of directors.

The Golden City Council voted unanimously in June to rezone the property. The vote followed nearly two years of design, work with the city staff and public meetings and hearings, according to AC Development

After completion of the new CoorsTek headquarters, the next phase of construction will likely involve apartments, the hotel and possibly more office space, Cohen said. Plans include 350 to 400 apartments as well as retail and services such as restaurants.

The company committed to making a portion of the apartments affordable housing and to providing at least $1.5 million for an arts district. Cohen said the company agreed to a minimum of 25 affordable housing units or 10% of the total, whichever is greater.

“Everyone is struggling to get employees and certainly making it easier for people to live near work is going to make it easier to find those employees,” Cohen added.

The development company also committed to making 40% of the property open space. A series of public plazas and other spaces, including natural areas, are planned.

Another big change is integrating the spot into the city grid. Streets that now stop at the property’s edges will be part of the traffic flow.

All the work will likely cost between $600 million and $900 million, Coors said. “It’s a substantial project.”

The project has generated interest in the business community, Coors added.

“Golden has quite a bit of tourism,” Coors said. “We see ebbs and flows of people coming through. Having a little more activity is exciting to the business community.”

Phillip Heifferon, right, and his father ...
Phillip Heifferon, right, and his father Mark ride their river surf boards on Clear Creek with Coors Brewing Company in the background on Aug. 22, 2022, in Golden. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Golden opportunity

“This is going to be an economic driver for Golden and also a very exciting opportunity for that part of downtown, revitalizing it and making it a valued part of the community,” said Rick Muriby, the city’s community and economic development director.

The industrial property provides an opening for new development in the city of nearly 20,000. Most of the land nestled into the foothills and along Clear Creek has been built on.

“One of the challenges in a small city like Golden is that it’s already built out,” Muriby said. “We don’t really have greenfield development any more. We have redevelopment and a limited amount of infill development, but not a lot of vacant lots.”

The city staff worked with AC Development on the CoorsTek proposal for about a year before the public hearings began. The planning commission had five meetings on the plan and in May recommended that the city council approve it.

“We took a break in the middle to have a community outreach process so residents could kind of catch up with how complex this project is and all that’s in the proposal,” Muriby said.

CoorsTek, Inc can be seen in ...
CoorsTek, Inc. can be seen in the heart of Golden on August 22, 2022. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

“We spent a lot of time communicating the community’s goals around sustainability and around historic preservation, public art and housing affordability,” Muriby said. “There was a lot they were willing to cooperate with us on.”

Golden doesn’t currently require developers to include affordable housing. Muriby said the city has finished a draft assessment of housing needs and might establish requirements and an affordable-housing fund.

Parking was one point of disagreement. In exchange for reduced on-site parking, the developer said it would encourage the use of carpooling to offices and public transit. The staff proposed requiring more parking later in case the plan didn’t work, but the city council approved the project without the fallback.

The developer will have to monitor the parking, most of which will be underground. Housing will likely be built on a parking lot next to the plant.

AC Development bought four tracts of land on the north side of the plant. Cohen said the parcels won’t be part of the first phase of work, and tenants in businesses and a nonprofit organization haven’t been asked to leave.

Tim Hancock leans against the fence ...
Tim Hancock leans against the fence outside of his home on 7th street in Golden on Aug. 22, 2022. Hancock, who has lived in this home since he was 16, for 64 years, sold the home and about 1/3 acre of land to CoorsTek. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)


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