Commercial market gaining interest from outside entities
The activity is not at a frenetic pace, nor is there a crazy push to go full steam ahead, regardless of the cost, but there is a lot of commercial construction and development projects going on in the Grand Valley right now.
There are highly visible ones, like the Interstate 70 diverging diamond Interchange project at 22 Road or the Canyon View Medical Office Plaza on G Road near 24 Road. There are also smaller projects, like the new retail pad off Patterson Road between 24 and 24 1/2 Road (aka, in the Home Depot parking lot) or the new Children’s Nature Center on Jurassic in Fruita.
“You’re going to be doing it now or you’re going to be missing out,” said Sam Suplizio, commercial broker with Bray Real Estate. “People who are on the fence should move now.”
Finding the bottom of any market is just about impossible, and usually, it’s only visible in the rear-view mirror as prices begin to climb again.
Although natural gas prices remain low and there doesn’t appear to be much activity in that sector, other areas of the economy are seeing increased activity. There’s also increased interest from investors and business owners outside of the area who are buying properties or building to invest in the local economy.
There’s new construction activity on Market Street near 24 Road in Grand Junction, from the same company that developed much of the newer retail areas near 24 Road and Mesa Mall. MRV Companies, out of Topeka, Kan., is building a Value Place hotel on Marketplace, next to the new Candlewood Suites. The 124-room extended-stay facility offers a great option for those who are traveling on business and need to stay for a week at a time.
“We plan to open in June or July of 2014,” said James Walker with MRV. The company is familiar with the Grand Valley and remains committed to the area’s economy.
An eight-acre site of raw land near 23 and G Road recently went under contract with another business from outside the area. The business is tentatively planning to expand to the Grand Junction market but is not ready to disclose any information.
Clayton Homes, a national manufactured home business, recently purchased both Golden Villa Homes, a local manufactured housing company, and a three-and-a-half-acre parcel at 23 Road and U.S. Highway 6 & 50 with the intent of expanding the manufactured home market in the Grand Valley. The new site will be a sales lot, according to Mike Foster, the commercial broker who listed the property.
A Salt Lake City development company, Scenic Development, finally closed on a land deal it had been involved in for about a year and a half. The 16-acre property, which sits between F 1/8 and F 1/4 Roads off 24 1/2 Road, was a bank-owned property when it first attracted the attention of Scenic Development.
“We thought it was a good price,” said Lynn Rindlisbacher with Scenic. “We’ve been looking to buy land in Grand Junction for about five years.”
Now that it owns the land, the company isn’t sure what it will do with it. The property is zoned for multi-family residential. Although Scenic has constructed several multi-family projects in other places, right now the company is busy with a project in Casper, Wyo., and a single-family home subdivision in Spanish Fork, Utah. Scenic Development has also completed projects in Montana and Idaho.
Technically, Tim Hanley is also an out-of-town investor, since he’s a Montrose businessman who is currently looking to expand his business holdings in Grand Junction. Hanley has purchased raw land on North Avenue near 15th and in Clifton near 32 Road and has plans to bring two new Taco Johns restaurants to the area. Hanley has closed on both lots and is in the design process for both restaurants. At this point, he hasn’t decided which will get built first. Construction could start in another month on the North Avenue site, but will take longer at the Clifton site, since Hanley is still working with the county to get the approval.
“I’m assuming I’ll have both up and running by the end of 2014,” Hanley said.
The new retail pad on Patterson Road in front of the Home Depot will be home to two new restaurants, as well as a third, yet-to-be-leased site which cannot be a food vendor. Which Wich?, a specialty sandwich shop owned by local businessman Robert Fowler, will occupy one of the units in the new building and Costa Vida, a fresh Mexican grill franchise out of Utah, will occupy another unit.
“We had hoped to be open for holiday shopping,” said Robert Fowler, “but realistically, it will more than likely be the beginning of January.”
Fowler is excited about the new location for the store, given the high traffic patterns, the easy accessibility of the site and the parking. He thinks customers will love the new site, too. Fowler has already begun the hiring process for the new location and thinks he’ll end up with another 20 part- and full-time employees.
Commercial brokers are also seeing more leasing activity in the area, with good properties moving fast.
Grand Valley Zoological Quest was able to get a favorable lease on the property on Jurassic Avenue in Fruita, which enabled it to sign a two-year lease for the Children’s Nature Center. The hands-on site will be open Dec. 14, thanks to the generosity of the town of Fruita, the Fruita City Council and local construction companies, PNCI Construction Inc., McAtlin Electrical Corporation, Richard Griffith Plumbing, Best Tops and Billy Foster, who all donated both time and material to the project.
“We’ll have a shoreline touch tank, reptiles from the rain forest and local reptiles, snakes and frogs,” said Janet Gardner with Grand Valley Zoological Quest. The center aligns with the life sciences curriculum for the state of Colorado for grades K - 12.
“We see this as being a stepping stone to a larger zoological facility,” Gardner said. The facility will keep the same hours as nearby Dinosaur Journey and hopes to offers families one more activity when they’re looking for fun, educational things to do in Fruita.
The diversity of the current commercial construction activity is encouraging to those who are wondering if the Grand Valley will ever climb out of the economic slump. While worriers sit on the sidelines and continue to wonder, the movers and shakers are already out there building.