Housing can be a challenge in the city
City Real Estate
For convenience and proximity to major events around town, it’s hard to beat a city location in Grand Junction. One of the biggest challenges, however, is a lack of available housing in the city. While there are plenty of older homes available for sale in the city, not everyone wants to tackle the challenges of 50-year old plumbing or pay the price for a historic home that has already been updated and restored to its former glory.
“We did a housing demand study in the spring,” said Harry Weiss, director of the Downtown Development Authority. “We got responses from 1,100 surveys; 30 to 40 percent of the people said they wanted to live downtown. There’s high interest, but very little product.”
Armed with those survey results, Weiss and the DDA are continuing to address downtown housing at White Hall, which burned in 2011.
“We’re waiting on the structural report,” Weiss said. Asbestos abatement on the building was finished earlier this spring, and the structural report will give additional guidance about what can be done to integrate the existing structure with new construction.
There are two residential historic districts in the city. The more well-known district, the Seventh Street Historic District, is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and has adopted guidelines and standards for remodels, renovations and home improvements in the district.
“There is a required review by the Historic Preservation Board,” said Kristin Ashbeck with the city of Grand Junction. The standards and guidelines were developed by the neighbors actually living in the district, not the city of Grand Junction. They’re not intended to reduce a homeowner’s ability to make needed or desired remodels and renovations, but merely maintain the historic value of the area.
A four-block area between 12th and 14th and Gunnison and Ouray is on the city’s registry of historic areas. As a courtesy, homeowners are encouraged to allow the historic preservation board to review their plans, but it is not required, nor are they required to follow recommendations.
According to Ashbeck, there are plenty of other areas in the city that could qualify to be placed on the city’s historic registry, including the Sherwood Park area and the Washington Park area near East Middle School. The homes may not be massive or extravagant, but they do represent the type of working-class, everyday people who have always made Grand Junction their home.
Anyone who ventures downtown has probably noticed the construction at the Avalon Theater, where upgrades include new seats, a new HVAC system and a new electrical system. The number of seats increased from 940 to 1,100.
“For local music promoters, it makes the Avalon more appealing,” said Trent Prall, engineering manager with the city of Grand Junction. “We’re also able to attract bigger acts. That was one of the targets for the project, to make it more of a regional draw.”
The 9.65 million dollar project should be finished by mid-September, with a ribbon cutting schedule on September 17 and the first show, a concert by the Grand Junction Symphony, scheduled for September 20.
Prall estimated that at any given day, there were about 45 to 50 people working on the project during various phases of construction, where local construction company FCI was the general contractor. Most of the subs used on the project were local.
Thunderstruck Valley, which opened in June at 436 Main Street (the former Boomers) is a welcome addition to the downtown scene. The nightclub offers live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and plans to add jazz and blues on Monday night.
“Business is awesome,” said Cameron Collard, one of the managers at the club.
If your curiosity hasn’t already taken you on a visit to the nightclub, be sure and stop by to check out the enormous dance floor upstairs or the horseshoe bar near the front door. Thunderstruck Valley is open every day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Outwest Books, the Palette and the Pretzelmaker have also opened up shop on Main Street. The Palette moved from a different downtown location on Colorado, the Pretzelmaker moved from Mesa Mall and Outwest Books is a brand-new independent retail bookstore carrying a wide variety of new books.
“Business has been great,” said Marya Johnston, the owner of the store, who appreciates the walking traffic on Main Street. “I have a lot of people who are happy to have an independent bookstore in town.”
The Legends is one of the few new housing developments in the city area, although it’s at the far northeast border of the area and perhaps a little too far to walk to downtown attractions. Ron Abeloe with Chaparral West has been steadily building single-family homes on small lots for more than a decade in the subdivision, and is getting ready to start the final phases.
“We’re in final engineering right now,” Abeloe said. “It will be done and submitted to the city before the end of the year.”
The final phases at the Legends include 68 single-family detached homes, 32 single-family attached duplex units and two four-unit buildings. Abeloe plans to do the last portion of the neighborhood in five separate phases of construction.