North Avenue eyesore cited

About 4 inches of standing water seeps in a walkway at the old Far East Restaurant at 15th Street and North Avenue.



The water is so deep and stagnant in the bottom floor of the former Far East restaurant, 1530 North Ave., that neighbors complain about the smell. Water also seeps out into a small outdoor courtyard that pedestrians on North Avenue can look down into, spotting floating garbage like empty alcohol bottles, wrappers and even a garbage bag of items.

It’s an issue that neighbors wish would get resolved.

“It’s been a disaster,” said Greg Tamburello, owner of the building next door at 1560 North Avenue, which houses Pete’s House of Spirits Liquor. “Nobody maintains it. It’s ugly. It’s got a problem — the basement keeps flooding.”

Tamburello, who has owned the next-door building for years, said he sometimes gives the owner a call when conditions get bad. Tamburello said the owner often says he’ll have a maintenance worker check it out.

Indeed the city of Grand Junction has been apprised of the issue. Building owner Eric Lederer, 62, of Ridgway, has received three citations, each for illicit discharges of water and other liquids into the storm drain.

Two citations were issued in October, when the building housed a haunted house, and one in January. Lederer is slated to appear in the city’s municipal court on March 26.

Lederer refused to comment for a story when contacted by phone Thursday.

From the standpoint of the North Avenue Owners Association, having a building that appears abandoned makes it difficult to encourage revitalization for the corridor, said Kevin Bray of the group.

“It used to be such a successful restaurant,” Bray said. “I remember going there as a kid. They took care of customers. It was a place people wanted to go. Now it just feels like an abandoned property.”

Even more frustrating is that section of North Avenue, between 12th Street and 23rd Street, will soon receive a facelift. The city of Grand Junction, with the help of the North Avenue Owners Association, secured a $1.2 million federal grant to revitalize the section. Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year or early next year.

According to a sign on site, the property is listed for sale or lease. The 14,790-square-foot, two-story commercial space was appraised at nearly $1.2 million in 2013, according to the Mesa County Assessor’s Office. It was built in 1955 and the construction quality is listed as above-average, the site reported.

Most recently the space was home to Laf Comedy Club, a sign on the property still identifying it that way. It also has been Xian Wei restaurant and Far East Restaurant.

Tamburello sees the corner spot with lots of parking as an opportunity for a number of uses, including housing or retail. Many of the businesses are looking up along the route, and it would be helpful in this case, too, he said.

“They just need to do a little work on it,” Tamburello said. “Last year we called the city and complained because of a broken water line. I’d hate to have his water bill, because it was something.”


COMMENTS

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It’s very difficult to get anything done about dilapidated, decrepit housing in Grand Junction. Another troubled property is the house at 836 Ute Ave. It’s falling apart, uninhabitable and ugly. The former resident died and no one has lived in it for ten years. There it sits, a rotting, deteriorating eyesore. It diminishes the surrounding property values and drags down the neighborhood, but nothing can be done.

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