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Superior residents petitioning controversial biotech development

SUPERIOR — Superior residents Ryan Hitchler and Jason Serbu are circulating a petition that aims to force town leaders to take another look at the Coal Creek Innovation Campus, a controversial development approved by Superior’s board of trustees last month on a split vote. 

The pair must gather 487 signatures by Sept. 24 in order to compel the board to repeal its vote or send the matter to a special election, according to a Boulder Daily Camera report. 

The $280-million, life-sciences-centric Coal Creek Innovation Campus would be developed on behalf of downtown Superior master builder RC (Ranch Capital) Superior LLC by San Diego health-care real estate developer PMB LLC. Plans call for the construction of four buildings totaling more than 366,000 square feet. 

PMB, formerly known as Pacific Medical Buildings, was one of the developers of the Superior Medical Center, a 60,000-square-foot facility that was one of downtown Superior’s first commercial projects. 

Coal Creek is expected to break ground early next year with completion expected in the second half of 2024.

The project has faced opposition by some locals on the basis of proposed building heights, the potential presence of hazardous materials, overall density, the inability for office space to energize the downtown area, and lack of transparency in the review process. 

Last month’s vote was mired in controversy as Superior Trustee Laura Skladzinski, who attended the meeting virtually, logged out prior to casting what could have been a deciding vote against the development. 

Before leaving the Zoom meeting, Skladzinski spoke in opposition to the project, saying that she doesn’t believe that “the life sciences campus will activate downtown.”

In a blog post after the meeting, Skladzinski wrote that she “suspected a vote would be 4-2 in favor of the life sciences campus being approved” and took issue with the board’s decision to extend the meeting beyond 11 p.m.

“Live up to the promises you sold us, or we’ll be pushing you out of the ballot box this November,” Ryan Hitchler, the petitioner, said in advance of the Aug. 22 vote. 

Source: BizWest