Seventh, North changes planned Project proposes new Mexican restaurant, bar remodel, triplex

North Avenue has long shouldered a reputation as a concrete jungle dominated by commercial properties with sprawling parking lots, a mish-mash of signs and little or no landscaping.

But one company hopes to spruce up that image at one of the busiest intersections in Grand Junction.

California-based Sanchez/Ortiz LLC, which purchased several properties at the northeast corner of Seventh Street and North Avenue last year, plans to sink millions of dollars into a redevelopment of the nearly   1 1/2-acre site that includes the Fiesta Guadalajara Mexican restaurant, the former Cruisers Southwestern Grill and a single-family home that fronts Glenwood Avenue.

Officials will tear down the restaurant and build a new one with an outdoor patio, remodel
Cruisers into a new bar and nightclub and convert the single-family home into a triplex.

The entire complex will offer a glimpse of the type of mixed-use, higher-density development city leaders are pushing for as Grand Junction’s population grows and undeveloped land becomes more precious.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” said Derrick Draper, chief financial officer for Fiesta Guadalajara, whose tear-down and rebuild will highlight the makeover of a total of four lots.

The new 8,900-square-foot restaurant at 710 North Ave. will replace the roughly 5,000-square-foot building and feature an outdoor dining patio and a second-story room for private parties, according to Bryan Sims with Design Specialists, the Grand Junction project architect.

The restaurant temporarily will be housed in the former Cruisers building at 748 North Ave. while the new building is under construction. Then Cruisers will be remodeled into a new bar and nightclub.

Without going into detail, Draper said company officials are negotiating with a group to manage the bar. Like Fiesta Guadalajara, it will include an outdoor patio.

Meanwhile, a single-family home at 727 Glenwood Ave. will be expanded into a triplex, with the ability to add 31 more multifamily units on the property.

Property owners also will reconfigure the parking lot, which can be difficult to navigate and has an alley running through the middle of it. The alley will be vacated, the lot will be repaved and restriped, and flower beds and landscaping will be installed. Access via Seventh Street will be closed off, leaving North and Glenwood avenues as the access points for the new development.

“The city has been driving for it,” Sims said of the project. “They know it’s a major intersection.”

Kathy Portner, city neighborhood services manager, said planners want to create a more urban feel along North Avenue between First and 12th streets. That’s why they encouraged the owners of Fiesta Guadalajara to add a second story to the new restaurant and push the building itself closer to the street in the same way Mesa State College has with the residence halls that are under construction and front North Avenue.

Portner said after deciding against including residential units above the restaurant,
Sanchez/Ortiz LLC turned its attention to converting the single-family home on Glenwood into a multifamily complex.

The project is working its way through the city’s planning process. The Planning Commission is expected to forward a recommendation on a preliminary plan to the City Council this month.

Sims said Sanchez/Ortiz LLC hopes to begin demolishing Fiesta Guadalajara by the middle of the summer and complete construction on the project by early next year.


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