Big housing project gets panel’s OK
The real estate arm of Mesa State College took another step Monday night toward developing a large mixed-use project that would include more than 1,100 housing units and retail space nearly the size of Mesa Mall.
The Grand Junction Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of an outline development plan and a planned-development zone district for 154 acres of land at the northwest corner of 29 and D roads.
The outline development plan calls for the construction of up to 1,124 multifamily housing units, 565,000 square feet of commercial space and 44 acres of light industrial businesses.
The housing would constitute the largest multifamily development in the Grand Valley, while the commercial space would create one of the largest shopping centers in the area.
Representatives for the college’s Real Estate Foundation, which owns the property, say the development would shore up the area’s shortage of high-density housing and provide shopping opportunities at the east end of the valley.
Planning commissioners went along with a request to increase the maximum building size from 150,000 square feet to 250,000 square feet.
Joe Carter, a landscape architect with Ciavonne, Roberts & Associates who is representing the college’s Real Estate Foundation, said the larger building size would allow for a greater variety of retailers to occupy space in the development.
Currently, the land is home to Mesa State’s electrical lineman program, the Western Slope Animal Diagnostic Laboratory and several storage buildings. It sits immediately east of the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado.
The foundation agreed to establish a 50-foot setback for structures on the west side of the property, a 25-foot landscape buffer and a 6-foot fence after cemetery directors expressed concern that noise from the development could interfere with the solemnity of the cemetery.
“We didn’t want to do anything to disrupt that,” Carter said.
John Andrews, director of the animal laboratory, said Mesa State and Colorado State University have had discussions about relocating the program but that nothing has been finalized.
The City Council will have the final say on the zoning and outline development plan. The next step for the foundation is to file a preliminary plan that will offer more detail about the project, including traffic impacts.