The Coronavirus shutdown and slowdown has had an impact on many businesses and commercial real estate projects, and was especially cruel to two newcomers to the Grand Valley business scene.
CPS Distributors, a landscape and irrigation supply wholesale company out of Denver that’s owned by Heritage Landscape Supply, a national company with almost 70 locations across the country, was in negotiations for months on its building at 240 North Ave. The company was excited to sign the contract in February, and even more excited to open its doors for business on March 5. Two weeks later, it had to change everything to adapt to the governor’s stay-at-home orders. Fortunately, the business is classified as essential and was allowed to remain open, but it had to wait on customers outside, at a makeshift counter area in the back of the building. The nicer May weather has made the experience more enjoyable for both the employees and its customers, who are landscapers and contractors. As a wholesale business, the distributor does not sell directly to consumers.
Brian Fischer and his three other partners at Monumental Beer Works do sell directly to consumers, and like CPS Distributors, they are the victims of extremely poor timing through no fault of their own. They hired Zag Built, who had been working to remodel the building at 2575 Highway 6 & 50 for months. They contracted with several different food truck vendors to be in the parking lot whenever the brewery opened its doors. Fischer brewed an eclectic mix of truly delicious beer, and the four partners were excited for their grand opening, which was scheduled for March 19. The Governor’s shutdown orders put a stop to their grand opening plans, and the small batch brewery had to lay off a few employees before they’d even worked a single shift.
“We had to change everything on the fly,” Fischer said. Although the brewery couldn’t sell beer to customers who wanted to drink it inside, it could sell beer to-go. The only problem was that the business wasn’t set up to be a to-go brewery.
“We had to go out and buy containers,” Fischer said. In spite of having to change its entire business plan at opening, the brewery managed to pay all of its bills in April, and hopes to have a survivable May, as well.
Remodeling at Ramblebine Brewing at Fifth Street and Colorado, and Ciara’s Cafe & Cantina, at Seventh Street and Main, continued throughout the stay-at-home orders, although it went a little slower than originally expected, but both business owners felt fortunate that they hadn’t yet opened their doors to business.
“The building will be done by the first week of June,” said Eli Gerson with Ramblebine. “If we could start brewing in May, we could open in late June, but we don’t want to make a bunch of beer and have it sitting around.”
Likewise, Paul Romero and his business partner, Jessica Martinez, aren’t sure when they’ll be able to open. The remodel should be finished by mid- to end of June, and they hope they can open soon after that. The cantina is in a truly unique, historical space, and it’s offering something brand new for the Grand Valley; a food truck offering tacos and various salsas will be parked inside the building.
“Who doesn’t love to drink a beer and eat tacos?” Romero said. The two business partners visited cities across the region to see what was new and exciting in the industry, and realized that their building, which was once a car dealership and has a garage door to the outside, was the perfect place to show off the new trend.
Commercial building and remodeling projects continued during the business slowdown this spring, although some were slowed and completion dates were extended. Demolition of the former Sears location at Mesa Mall was completed, but the construction of the Dillards store has been delayed. It is still happening, however, and Dillards impending arrival at the mall has generated interested in the other large anchor tenant space where Herbergers used to be.
“We are pursuing all available interest in the spot,” said Paul Peterson with Washington Prime, the owner of Mesa Mall. The mall is also dealing with being partially closed and helping its retailers get through the COVID-19 crisis.
The Downtown Technology Center, where local high-tech company, Kaart Group, will make its headquarters, is still on track to be complete by mid-July.
“The building has a modern look and concept,” said Merritt Sixby with Merritt and Associates, the general contractor for the project. “It’s been a good project.”
Likewise, Bruce Milyard with Western Constructors has been able to stay on schedule for the Rocky Mounts building at Las Colonias, which should also be finished sometime in July. Western Constructors will also be the general contractor for Bonsai Design, another outdoor equipment manufacturer who will be an anchor tenant at Las Colonias. He’s hoping to start the Bonsai building sometime in May.
The construction delay at the Atrium, the remodeling project that will become the home for Foresight Wellness at Foresight Circle and Patterson Road, wasn’t related to COVID-19, but rather to the complexity of trying to remodel an older building and turn it into something unique and modern.
“I think the owners of Foresight Wellness have a great project,” said Eric Marquez with Marquez Construction, the general contractor for the project. “We ran into structural issues, but we were able to figure it out and move forward again.”
Look for 22 windows cut out of the building in the next few months, where currently a big, blank wall fronts the busy Patterson Road. As the building’s new name suggest, the Atrium will be full of natural sunlight, with a bright and modern design.
There are multiple apartment projects in various stages of planning and construction across the Grand Valley, including Railyard at Base Rock, which received approval from city planners in December, and The Lofts on Grand, which is still in discussion with planners.
“Even with the Coronavirus, we continued working and the project is on schedule,” said Steven Chandler, building superintendent for Perry Reid Construction, the general contractor on the project.
When complete, the Railyard will have 200 apartment units in seven different buildings. The apartments will have garages and high end finishes, with fabulous views of Colorado National Monument. The builder is adding extra noise-proofing to the buildings, and the $50 million apartment project will also have a clubhouse, a pool, a bike shop and a maintenance building.
The owners hope to start leasing the first 28 apartments, as the first building is scheduled to be compete in November, 2020.