Housing inventory limited in Northwest, but development continues
The northwest area is an unusual combination of industrial and commercial areas, along with hundreds of small acreage properties north of Interstate 70.
There are also large scale agricultural operations in many parts of the northwest area, and it’s not uncommon to see tractors on the road, horses in pastures or chickens in yards.
“There’s not a lot of inventory available for sale,” said Priscilla Studt with Studt Realty, who has been selling small acreage estates at Pritchard Mesa, near 22 Road and J Road, since 2007.
Pritchard Mesa has two and three-acre home sites, where lot buyers have usually built elegant and large dream homes. There are only three lots left at the development, which was brought to market with 14 lots in phase one and 23 lots in phase two.
Blue Star Construction is planning to start infrastructure construction on phase two at Roma Estates near 20 and K Road within a month and hopes to start construction on the first home within the next two months. There will be 19 one-acre lots in the development. The homes will range from 2,100 to 2,500 square feet, with four or five bedrooms and a three-car garage and will start from $315,000 to $330,000.
Several commercial and government projects are also moving forward or finishing up in the northwest. The roundabout at 23 and G Road opened this week after several months of construction. The city was able to obtain 90 percent of its funding for the project with a hazard elimination grant.
“We’ve had several fatal accidents there,” said Ken Simms, transportation planner with the regional transportation planning office. The intersection used to have a two-way stop, which was changed to a four-way stop to improve safety. When that proved ineffective, the roundabout was built.
In another effort to improve safety, the Colorado Department of Transportation is changing Exit 26 at Interstate 70, where U.S. Highway 6 meets the interstate.
“We’ve submitted a grant application for TIGER (transportation investment generating economic recovery) funding,” Simms said. The grants should be awarded sometime in the next month. If the grant doesn’t come through, CDOT will look to other sources of funding.
The intersection will be changed to a diverging diamond style of interchange in an effort to eliminate accidents and traffic backing up while drivers are trying to to left across oncoming traffic in order to get onto westbound Interstate 70.
“We’re going to make people drive on the wrong side of the street,” Simms said. The best way to understand how the interchange works is to look at it on youtube. There are several posts that show exactly how traffic moves through the intersection.
“We looked at two dozen different alternatives,” said Jody Kliska, transportation engineer with the city of Grand Junction. “We had considered a partial cloverleaf, which would have been extremely expensive.”
Kliska estimates the diverging diamond could cost around $4 million. A partial cloverleaf would have been more than $15 million.
“If we get the TIGER grant, construction could start in January,” Kliska said. Without the grant, construction probably won’t start until 2014.
Grand Valley Transit is also going forward with plans for a transit station on 24 1/2 Road near Mesa Mall, although it will not be built in partnership with Greyhound Lines, as was originally planned.
“We’re finalizing the design,” said Todd Hollenbeck, manager with Mesa County Regional Transportation Planning Office. The new transit station may have to be built in phases and will eventually include an indoor waiting area, vending services, restrooms and a park and ride.
Community Hospital is also starting construction of its 40-acre campus near G and 23 1/2 Road in phases, with a medical office building slated to be the first building on the site. Construction of the new medical office building, which could be a home for tenants currently at the community medical plaza at 1060 Orchard Ave., could start this fall. The hospital will choose a general contractor this month and wants to use as many local subcontractors as possible, with a goal of at least 85 percent of the total dollars spent going to local businesses.
Colorado Mesa University will eventually take over the current Community Hospital space near 12th Street, but the hospital has a 10 - 15 year window to design, build and move into the new hospital to its new home off G Road.