By Shelley Widhalm

Three divisions of Canadian agriculture company Agrium Inc. are moving to Loveland with Agrium Advanced Technologies leading the way. In early August, Agrium Advanced Technologies — a developer and supplier of fertilizer and micronutrient products — moved some of its corporate functions onto the fourth floor of Rangeview 3 at Centerra.

The remaining functions will move onto the third floor — which is still under construction — in spring 2010.

“We’re operating out of two offices instead of one, so there’s an efficiency aspect (to the move),” said Andrew Mittag, president of Agrium Advanced Technologies in Loveland.

The division closed the Sylacauga, Ala., office on Sept. 23 and plans to close the Bradford, Ontario, office by August 2010 after it finishes moving its headquarters to Loveland, Mittag said.

Brinkman Construction in Fort Collins built the tenant improvements for Agrium Advanced Technologies on the fourth floor, which spans 15,800 square feet, and is working on improvements on the third floor that are scheduled to be finished this week.

Agrium Advanced Technologies plans to occupy 7,500 square feet of the third floor. Shared Services Group, a data processing group within Agrium Inc. that provides information technology services for the company, will occupy the other half of the floor.

The move of Agrium Advanced Technologies to Loveland will result in a few layoffs, but Mittag was unable to provide an exact number. Once the move is completed, the division will operate with a staff of 65 employees with room to grow to 85 employees, he said.

Twenty-five employees currently work out of the Loveland office, including 14 new hires, said Betsey Hale, business development manager for the city of Loveland.

“Those are high-paying jobs. The average annual salary is close to $80,000,” Hale said.

Agrium Inc. also plans to consolidate and move its headquarters for its retail business unit, Crop Production Services, to a new 82,000-square-foot office building.

That building, Rangeview 4, is scheduled to open in June 2010.

“We will consolidate everyone under one roof,” said Kent McDaniel, director of human resources for Crop Production Services in Greeley. “We’ve got different functions in different buildings right now and, in some cases, in different parts of the country.”

Initially, 280 employees will be moved to Rangeview 4, which can house up to 350 employees, McDaniel said.

“We will be hiring, depending on business,” he said.

Prior to the move to Loveland, Agrium Inc. purchased United Agri Products of Greeley in May 2008.

The company closed offices in Illinois, California and Denver to consolidate and relocate corporate functions for Crop Production Services to the Greeley facility, said Richard Gearheard, president of Agrium Inc.’s retail business unit and chief executive officer of Crop Production Services.

Crop Production Services outgrew the Greeley building and selected the McWHINNEY property as the best fit, Gearheard said.

The division considered properties in Greeley, Windsor and Johnstown, he said.

“We like the area, and it has a good labor pool,” he said.