Old refinery site to be industrial park

The railroad spur running into the old Gary Refinery, west of Fruita.The city of Fruita is annexing 223 acres at this site, 1493 Hwy 6&50.

When Gary Refinery in Fruita closed in 1985, it was a blow to the energy industry.

Now, 24 years later, the refinery grounds at 1493 U.S. Highway 6&50 are being adapted to a new energy economy. Fruita Development and California-based Regent Properties have been working to reclaim and transform the site into a center of commerce to be named Western Slope Industrial and Rail Park.

In this troubled economy, can anyone truly be going forward with plans to develop a 223-acre industrial park?

“We are going forward with redevelopment of the property, no matter what,” said Jeff Remillard, project manager and a vice president for Regent Properties. “We are very excited about it.”

The park has been in the planning process for the past year. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is supervising the cleanup of the refinery site, which should be done in 2010. Some areas of the park already are clean and ready to be leased, Remillard said.

The park is just to the west of the larger Greenway Business Park and tentatively is slated to be annexed by the city of Fruita on March 17.

Mayor Ken Henry said the park will go a long way in filling the Grand Valley’s need for industrial land with an adjoining rail spur.

City Manager Clint Kinney said it is a “great opportunity for redevelopment” and job creation.

How many jobs is unclear. Once the property is ready for tenants, and it becomes clearer what types of businesses will be operating from the park, that story should unfold.

But Remillard is confident energy-related businesses will come, once they consider the amenities such as a rail spur, and the location between Salt Lake City and Denver. The refinery site is a wide swath of industrially zoned land with storage tanks and structures that can be refurbished, he said.

“It is a lot of gravel and dirt roads right now,” he said.

In the short term, there will be jobs building roads and putting in sewer and power lines, Remillard said.

He also has an eye toward the future, when the economy rebounds.

“We are very aware of the economy,” Remillard said. “It really hasn’t changed our long-term opinion on our property. This is a great place to be for the oil and gas industry.”


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