Construction update

Laramie Main Street Alliance Executive Director Trey Sherwood points to a shared courtyard in the Fox Hole on Tuesday afternoon while discussing the hole, which is the future site of the Big Hollow Food Co-op. SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

Several multimillion-dollar projects are breaking ground around Laramie with plans for completion by the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Using funds provided by the State Loan and Investment Board with Business Ready Community grants through the Wyoming Business Council, construction is underway on three projects estimated to cost about $9 million, Laramie Chamber Business Alliance President and CEO J.J. Harris said. A fourth project — the product of a land swap — is also on schedule to be completed before the year is out, he said.

Bright Agrotech

With the vertical farming business booming, Bright Agrotech broke ground this spring on a nearly $3 million building that could house the company’s main office as well as its research and development department, Harris said.

“It’ll be about 12,000-square-(feet) of office space,” he said. “They’re digging in the foundation now.”

Started as an incubator project at the Wyoming Technology Business Center by University of Wyoming graduate Nate Storey, Bright Agrotech is a Laramie-based company that develops hardware, software and provides services for small-scale plant growers specializing in vertical growing systems.

With the new building located across from the current facility, 1461 Commerce Drive, the company could nearly double its current available space, Harris said. With good weather, he said the project could be finished before the end of the year.

HIVIZ: Phase II

After moving to Laramie in 2013, HIVIZ anticipated creating 20 jobs in the first three years of operation. However, during its first year of business, the company created 42 jobs.

To date, HIVIZ created 51 positions, outgrowing its current facilities.

Using a $3 million business ready community grant approved in January, the firearms accessories company broke ground on a new building this spring that could add 20 more jobs to Laramie’s economy when complete, Harris said.

“It’s a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility,” he said. “These advanced manufacturers are ideal for Laramie. It’s not at all dirty manufacturing.”

The facility is HIVIZ’s next step toward plans for a five-building campus occupying its approximately 7-acre site at 620 Adams St.

The project is slated to be complete by the end of the year, Harris said.

Big Hollow Food Co-op

Whether referred to as the Fox Hole or the Empress Lot, one of downtown’s infamous storefront gaps could be filled by early 2018, Laramie Main Street Alliance Executive Director Trey Sherwood said.

“We’re breaking ground June 26,” she said. “We’ll be building from lot line to lot line. It’s the first infill project we’ve had downtown in years.”

Building on the site of the former Fox Theater at 112 S. Second St., Main Street plans to erect a multi-level, multi-purpose building with a $3 million grant from the Wyoming Business Council.

Before applying for the grant, Sherwood said Main Street preleased the ground floor to Big Hollow Food Co-op.

“The front is designed to fit in with our historical storefronts, but the back is going to be super fun and super funky,” she said. “It will have a mural and be designed to reflect the fact the building was built in 2017.”

With the increased space the building could provide the food co-op, the company could create about 12 new positions, Sherwood said.

Game and Fish

Thanks to a boost in fishing license sales and increased funding from federal taxes on guns and ammunition, Wyoming Game and Fish announced in 2016 plans to expand their Laramie facility — all it needed was land.

“We traded about 6 acres of land for their current facility,” Harris said. “We’ll either market the facility or put it to public-private use.”

The land-for-facility swap occurred in the fall, and contractors broke ground in November, he said.

Game and Fish’s new 45,000-square-foot facility is located on a 5.6-acre lot at the corner of Adams Street and Venture Drive, just south of the current Laramie Region Office. The $18.5 million project could include laboratory space, offices, a shop and a large conference room as well as a 4,000-square-foot unheated storage building.

With construction well underway, contractors were installing windows and siding on the main building Friday.

“It’ll be completed by the end of the year if all goes well,” Harris said.

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