Commercial activity is a positive sign for economy
Commercial Real Estate
Commercial real estate activity is a good indicator of a community’s economic prospects, since it usually means that businesses and investors have confidence to go out and spend money to buy, lease or remodel a building.
Unlike residential real estate sales, which may be tied to the economy, but can also be spurred by changing family sizes, low interest rates, good schools, new roads, the desire for something new or the yearning for a bigger back yard, commercial entities and private investors won’t make a move on a whim. And while many people can move from one home to another without spending a dime to fix up the home or change it in a substantial way before they move, it’s rare for businesses to move without spending money to remodel or finish the new quarters to fit their particular needs.
“Investors are tired of sitting around with their money in a money market fund,” said Sam Suplizio, commercial broker with Bray Real Estate, explaining the recent commercial activity. “You don’t have to be a genius, but you have to do your due diligence.”
According to Suplizio, there are deals out there for local investors and there is renewed interest in the Grand Valley from national retailers. Suplizio recently had a five-acre parcel of land on Warrior Way that he’s had listed for two to three years go under contract with a national retailer.
Locals are also getting in on the commercial deals. A group of local investors recently bought the building at 2350 G Road and has gone out to bid on a major exterior remodel that will make it more attractive for future tenants. The deadline for bids will be the end of July, according to Ray Rickard, the broker who is assisting the investors. The remodel may not be a huge job, like building the new Community Hospital, but it will mean business and dollars to the general contractor and the subcontractors who work on the project.
Dave Cummings is getting ready to open Grand Valley Climbing, a 12,316-square foot climbing facility that will also offer yoga, fitness and strength training off 25 Road north of Patterson.
“The industry has really changed and moved in a new direction,” Cummings said. “Grand Valley Climbing will be the tallest indoor climbing gym in Colorado.”
Cummings promised that his facility will be as welcoming to first-time climbers as it is to seasoned pros. He will also offer onsite childcare and climbing lessons to help new climbers get comfortable.
“Grand Junction is reinventing itself as an outdoor recreation mecca,” Cummings said, adding that the gym will have 14,000 square feet of climbable surface. The climbing walls are made by Walltopia, an industry leader in climbing walls headquartered in Bulgaria.
Kraai Architecture and Asset Engineering, two Grand Valley companies, were responsible for the design and construction of the building. Merlin Schreiner with Asset Engineering estimates that on any given day, about 15 to 20 people have been working on the job since February.
On a smaller scale, Montrose businessman Tim Hanley is hoping his first Taco Johns restaurant in the Grand Valley, at 3226 I-70 B, will be open by mid-August. He owns another parcel of land on North Avenue where he has approval from the city for his second Taco Johns restaurant. Construction on the second restaurant could start as soon as the first one is open.
If a business is moving to expand its operations, like FedEx Ground is doing with its new facility at 715 23 Road, it may mean additional employees long after the engineering and construction of the new facilities. The new FedEx Ground facility will have 48,000 square feet and is scheduled to be complete sometime in 2015.
City Market/King Soopers has owned a large parcel of land in the middle of town, at 12th at Patterson, for more than a dozen years. They are once again in talks with the city of Grand Junction to determine what type of modifications must be made to the existing intersection before the proposed 60,000-square foot grocery store can be constructed.
Traffic counts show more than 27,000 cars per day on Patterson at that intersection and more than 19,000 cars daily on 12th Street. The proposed shopping area, which will also have space for a bank and other retail shops, will add to the traffic counts and result in increased congestion. The city is currently working with the company to explore options.
While commercial activity is good and keeping most of the brokers busy, many agree that this is no time to ease up on the gas pedal. The Western Slope economy continues to need high-paying jobs in manufacturing, energy, IT and other core industries.
“Job growth has got to be part of the equation,” said Dale Beede with Coldwell Prime Properties, who added that supporting local businesses as well as the Grand Junction Economic Partnership are keys to creating a more stable economy.