Council tables votes on incentive package, Bonsai Design lease
Plans to locate a business park in a portion of Las Colonias Park and offer incentives to a local company to act as the anchor tenant have stalled, mostly over terms of a potential lease.
The Grand Junction City Council was prepared Wednesday to vote on terms of the incentive package for Bonsai Design, but instead the issue was tabled, following an executive session among councilors earlier in the day.
It’s the second time a planned council vote on the project has been delayed, while the city continues to negotiate terms with the company.
Thaddeus Shrader, chief executive officer of Bonsai Design, said after Wednesday night’s meeting that his company is “looking for more assurances” from city officials, who have said they must cap lease terms at 25 years, without an option for automatic renewals over the years.
“That’s the rallying cry, that (the city) can’t bind future councils,” Shrader said of talks with the city.
Shrader said his company already has invested between $60,000 to $70,000 in design and development plans to locate at Las Colonias Park, including designs for 15 different iterations of the proposed business park layout.
While the company would receive $1 million from the city to build a new facility, Shrader said Bonsai plans to sink an additional $2.6 million in the proposed downtown outdoor industry business park.
“Our hope still is that we can find a home in Grand Junction,” he said.
Grand Junction City Manager Greg Caton said after Wednesday’s meeting that city officials knew from the beginning that the city’s charter only allows land leases of up to 25 years on park land, to avoid binding future councils to agreements.
Caton said he and city officials have been working diligently on negotiations with Bonsai, including over the Fourth of July holiday.
The lease terms are the biggest sticking point in the deal, but Caton said he “wouldn’t call it an impasse.”
“It’s a complex document. There are some remaining items … there’s a lot of interpretation,” Caton said. “It’s too important to be rushed.”
Caton said a new, draft document was finalized after an executive meeting Wednesday, and an incentive package likely will be up for vote during the next council meeting, Caton said.
Wording of the most recent available agreement calls for the city to pay $1 million to Bonsai, who would construct a facility estimated to cost twice as much. The city would pay $71,000 in fees and 10 years’ worth of property tax rebates, estimated at $46,000.
In exchange Bonsai would also create a $600,000 zipline for public use across the Colorado River. The company would pay $20,000 a year to lease the land, and work with Grand Junction Economic Partnership to attract more businesses to the roughly 10- to 15-acre business section of the park.