New malls keep shoppers in Montrose

MONTROSE — Despite a flagging economy, two new shopping centers in south Montrose have almost filled up and are keeping shoppers closer to home.

River Landing and Oxbow Crossing, opposite each other across U.S. Highway 550, were developed by Leadership Circle Real Estate Development.

River Landing, set on 52 acres on the west side of the highway, is home to J.C. Penney, which opened in August last year, and Target, which opened last October. Sports Authority opened in March, and Famous Footwear opened last week.

Other stores that have opened in River Landing in the past year include Maurice’s, Petco, Looney Bean Coffee and Verizon Wireless.

Montrose Mayor Erica Lewis Kennedy said the main effect she noticed from the new shopping centers is that she doesn’t shop in Grand Junction any more.

“When I was first on the City Council, I had to get all my dress clothes outside the city,” she said. “This time I got all new clothes, because I’d just had a baby, and got every single piece in Montrose.”

Kennedy said the Sephora cosmetics store inside J.C. Penney even brings shoppers here from Grand Junction.

There’s still room to grow at River Landing, said Pete Neumann of Leadership Circle Real Estate, and he’s close to signing a deal to fill up the building that houses the coffee shop and the cell phone store.

“That just leaves 5,200 square feet at the end of Maurice’s, and I’m in discussions with about six other people at the moment,” he said.

Oxbow Crossing, with only a couple of office spaces left for rent, doesn’t have big-box stores, but it leased out space to more than 30 businesses since it opened for business in May 2006.

Applebee’s Restaurant was the first of five restaurants to open in the complex.

Other businesses include Golden Aspen Jewelers, Timberline Bank, Anytime Fitness, Athlete’s Foot, Dollar Tree, Lakota Living Furniture, April’s Boutique, Green Market, Maui Wowi Coffee, RAC Rent-a-Center and Black Canyon Floral, to name a few.

That gives Montrose more shopping variety, said Sandy Head, executive director of Montrose Economic Development Corp.

“Even though there might not be a lot of home sales, it’s still good to spend money locally instead of driving to
Grand Junction,” she said.

“People are staying in town and don’t have to spend high dollars to travel because they can get it all here.”

Keeping shoppers in town will also help smaller stores, she said.

The city doesn’t have specific sales-tax figures for the two shopping centers, but sales-tax revenue for the south end of town show an increase of more than $3 million from June 2007 to June this year, considerably higher than other areas. Five of the city’s nine sales-tax areas showed a decline in revenues this year.

Marge Keehfuss, executive director of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce, echoed other business leaders’ feelings about the shopping centers.

“I think they’ve done a lot for our city, because there’s not as many people running up to Junction,” she said.


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