Colorado Outdoors has announced a $1 million investment from its newly formed, qualified opportunity zone business fund into outdoor industry holding company Wedge Brands, LLC.
The investment is the largest opportunity zone venture investment to date.
Wedge in turn announced plans to build a 76,000 square foot distribution and third-party logistics center on the Colorado Outdoor campus in Montrose, in which Wedge will invest an estimated $14 million.
Construction is likely to begin this year, with a 2021 target date for completion. Wedge intends to bring several new jobs to Montrose over the next 10 years.
“It’s a warehouse distribution center, so there will be a warehouse manager and distribution staff. It’s about 17 jobs,” said Colleen Aller, director of business development for Colorado Outdoors.
“Opportunity Zone venture investing is key right now because unlike OZ real estate investing, OZ venture capital can go right to work into companies that are thriving during these times. No permits, or construction delays are happening with OZ venture investing,” Brian Phillips, co-founder and partner of The Pearl Fund, said in a press release announcing the new development.
The housing division awarded Colorado Outdoors LLC, a loan of $1.1M for a three-building, 72-unit multifamily housing project. Eighteen one-bedrooms, 42 two-bedrooms and 12 three-bedroom units will be available to families in 30 to 80 percent of the Area Median Income.
Wedge Brands has a growing portfolio of outdoor industry companies, including Level Gloves USA, Northwave USA, and Briko USA. Recently, it added Xcel Wetsuits.
“We are excited about the new brands coming into the Montrose, Colorado Opportunity Zone and are committed to delivering on the promise of OZ to drive attractive tax-free returns for investors, real job creation and a Made in America pride for rural Colorado,” said Doug Dragoo, general partner of the Colorado Outdoors Pearl Fund, also in the press release.
"Opportunity zones will be the vehicle to bring back economic recovery. The Colorado Outdoors QOZ is one of the first to invest in these turbulent times,” Dragoo added.
“We’re very excited about this project,” said Aller. “It will bring seven outdoor industry brands to Montrose. The result of that will be other brands coming that need a third-party logistics center to operate.”
This development comes a year after Colorado Outdoors was hopeful the project could come to fruition, which at the time was called The Park at Colorado Outdoors.
Separately, in 2019, the state division of housing awarded Colorado Outdoors critical low-income housing tax credits. Montrose County assigned its $1.1 million private activity bond capacity to the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority on behalf of Colorado Outdoors.
“If we have an opportunity to help the citizens and do better things for our community, we want to be aware of it,” Montrose County Commissioner Sue Hansen said in May 2019.
Aller said further details on the facility in Montrose will be announced early this week.