Unlike the residential real estate market, which has been active and busy throughout the spring and summer of 2020, the commercial market has been affected by COVID-19. Some projects have been delayed, and some investors and business owners have become a bit skittish. Others, however, are moving forward even in the midst of uncertainty, and some projects have been delayed for reasons unrelated to COVID.

The slowdown on the progress of the building that will become Foresight Wellness, at 2515 Foresight Circle, was due primarily to the complexity of the project.

“This was a very complicated building,” said Renee Williams, spokesperson for the partnership which owns the building. “It turned out to be more complicated than expected. The building had three different additions. We thought we’d have three sets of drawing; we’re on our 12th set of drawings.”

The owners are confident that they have solved the biggest impediments and will be moving forward quickly at this point, and may be ready for anchor tenants by the first quarter of 2021.

Likewise, the delays on the remodel of the building at 600 Rood have not been related to the pandemic, and the partners who own the building are excited that the renovation is almost complete. The building was completed gutted, windows were added, and it now has eight separate spaces of varying sizes ranging from small one-person offices of 400 square feet to a 5,000 square feet space that could accommodate multiple offices and a conference area. The spaces are all bright, new, and just one block north of Main Street.

“We are motivated to get the building leased,” said Matt Clark, who is one of the ownership partners.

At the Riverfront at Las Colonias, the business park in the middle of Las Colonias Park, the first commercial building was finished in July, and Rocky Mounts, the company that relocated from Boulder to Grand Junction in 2019, moved in immediately.

Although the company anticipated that COVID would have a negative impact on the business, it’s actually done just the opposite. People who may not be going on vacations abroad, or on cruises and beach trips, are definitely taking their bicycles to other places, and are buying the car and bike racks made by Rocky Mounts. The company now has 14 employees, and is already planning an expansion to the front of its new building.

The Bonsai Design building, which is also at the Riverfront at Las Colonias, is not only under construction, but also has leases for the majority of the building. Bonsai Design, the zipline and outdoor challenge course manufacturer, will occupy a quarter of the building, while KLJ Engineering, an engineering firm headquartered in Bismarck, N. Dak., with 23 offices in seven states, will take about 5,000 square feet of the building when it’s completed.

“As our client base continues to grow, we wanted to grow and expand into Western Colorado,” said Jamie Olson, branding and communications manager for KLJ. The company chose the location at Las Colonias because of the proximity to downtown and the easy access to the airport.

“We’re starting to hire senior positions,” Olson said. The company has experience and expertise in infrastructure, roads, runways, pipelines and parks.

“We’re looking forward to becoming an active part of the community,” said Jill Beilke, branding and communications manager. “We’re looking forward to occupying the space (at Las Colonias) and we hope to bring jobs and opportunities.”

The Christi Reece Group, a local real estate company, has also signed a lease for space in the Bonsai building, which should be complete sometime in the first quarter of 2021.

“We’re excited to be a future tenant of the Las Colonias development,” said Reece. “That project is a tremendous symbol of the progress we’re making in the Grand Valley and how we can create cool, interesting spaces and destinations on top of our already-beautiful and thriving community.”

Community Food Bank isn’t moving into a brand new, trendy commercial space, but Alisha Wenger, the director of the food bank, is delighted nonetheless with the older building the non-profit was able to purchase this summer on 28 1/2 Road.

“This is going to open up a world of possibilities for us,” said Wenger. “It will allow us to do more on-site services.”

The new location will also have two private offices, a walk-in cooler and a walk-in freezer, and is more than double the size of the food bank’s current leased space.

“The seller was super-supportive of us getting in there,” Wenger said. “Our mortgage will be $680 less per month than our current lease payment.”

The new location, which is just a couple of blocks south of North Avenue, is in a much more convenient location for clients, and has space for deliveries. PNCI will be doing the remodeling, which Wenger hopes will be complete before the holidays.

“I’m shooting for a grand opening right before Christmas,” she said.

Construction activity on two large anchor tenants at Mesa Mall was temporarily stalled during the COVID stay-at-home period. The Home Goods store, which will occupy the space where Sports Authority used to be, is still under construction, with an opening date sometime in the spring of 2021. Construction of the Dillards store is supposed to start again at some point later in 2020.

“I have had no indication that they aren’t coming,” said Paul Peterson, general manager at Mesa Mall about Dillards. Another national retailer has been in talks with Mesa Mall’s owner, as well as the city of Grand Junction, to occupy most of the space where Herbergers used to be, but the company would prefer not to be named until the contract is signed.

There are also a number of apartment complexes in various stages of planning and construction around the Grand Valley, including the Lofts on Grand, where Western Constructors, Inc. hopes to start construction on a total of 78 one- and two-bedroom apartments in seven different buildings by the fourth quarter of 2020. The $16 million apartment complex, which will straddle 10th Street, will be built in one phase. Bruce Milyard with Western Constructors anticipates that it will take about a year and a half to build the complex.

A couple of large, multi-million dollar sales of existing buildings that are currently leased to national retail chains have recently taken place, with one out-of-area investor selling to another out-of-area investor at 2512 Broadway, which is currently leased by Safeway, and at 2455 U.S. 6, which is currently leased to Office Depot. Although the changes in ownership don’t mean much for locals, it does indicate that Grand Junction is perceived as a good investment by outsiders with money.

“There’s some confidence in investing in Grand Junction right now, absolutely,” said Sid Squirrell with Bray Real Estate. “Grand Junction has finally gotten on the radar.”

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