Long list of repairs remains at aging convention center
Fake but colorful flowers populate some arrangements on a buffet table at Two Rivers Convention Center. The main hallway, with wood and metal decoration, harkens back a few decades.
It’s clear technology upgrades are needed at Grand Junction’s 43-year-old convention center, as well as a number of other fixes to bring the facility into the modern age.
At minimum, the city is tasked with an estimated $2.3 million in upgrades to fix deficiencies — including roof repairs, the domestic water distribution system, kitchen items, overhead doors and exterior repairs such as windows, doors, soffit and concrete.
A tax measure last April would have infused millions of dollars into a major remodel for the 23,000-square-foot facility at 159 Main St. But voters overwhelmingly shot down that option, in combination with a question to construct an event center at the site.
Now Grand Junction is weighing its options to move forward with its aging facility.
Total upgrade costs are pegged at about $7 million, Grand Junction City Manager Greg Caton has said.
Making the facility like new again would require about a $15 million investment.
In January, Grand Junction transferred management of Two Rivers and the Avalon Theatre to Pinnacle Venue Services, which has stemmed the city’s financial blood-letting related to those properties. Grand Junction has subsidized Two Rivers to some extent every year, but the city was staring down a payment of more than $400,000 in 2016.
With Pinnacle Venue Services as the management company, the agreement dictates Pinnacle is paid $225,000 a year to operate Two Rivers and the Avalon. If the venues need more money for operations, Pinnacle makes up the difference. After Pinnacle makes $100,000 in annual profit it splits any further profits 50-50 with the city. Pinnacle also recently added Las Colonias Amphitheater to its management portfolio.
Caton said the city is aware it needs to keep Two Rivers in good working order and try to keep the venue competitive with other convention spaces.
Two Rivers competes with other newer facilities like the Meyer Ballroom and other spaces at Colorado Mesa University.
“We liken assets such as this to our pavement,” Caton said. “If we don’t pay now, we’ll pay later with deferred maintenance. We need to maintain both assets, and the experience of the patrons factors into it.”
Nearby, Grand Junction purchased the former Mesa Pawn & Loan property, 225 S. Second St., in anticipation of placing the event center on the site or using the space for a future realignment of First Street and Ute and Pitkin avenues.
Caton said the city could demolish the building but it is holding off for now, open to possible economic development possibilities.
Those ideas are preliminary, and more solidified plans for the building may emerge soon, Caton said.
“If somebody has an idea or is looking for space… we might just want to wait on demolition,” he said.