The future of the incomplete administration building at the Grand Junction Regional Airport will likely hinge on whether the Bureau of Land Management is interested in it for its new Grand Junction headquarters.
Airport staff, working with FCI Constructors, recently priced out estimates for various scenarios for the building ranging from completing the existing plans to demolition. Airport Executive Director Angela Padalecki, however, told the Airport Authority Board during a Tuesday workshop that staff feels the airport should wait to hear from BLM prior to making a decision.
Staff had been prepared to recommend demolishing the shell of a building adjacent to the main terminal until the BLM announced July 15 that it would move its headquarters to Grand Junction in the near future. Demolition would take roughly 18 weeks.
A full demolition and clean-up is estimated to cost $900,000. To finish the buildout using the old design plans would cost roughly $9.5 million, according to estimates from FCI. Other options, including building out the bottom floor and basement, while demolishing the top floor, are also pricey.
"What we'd like to do is press pause for just a bit longer to make sure we don't pull the trigger on a demolition a couple months too early," Padalecki told the board.
She hopes to revisit the issue at a workshop in October.
Padalecki said the building could be an ideal location for BLM headquarters because the airport is next to BLM land and would be convenient for travelers who fly in to the Grand Valley to meet with BLM staff.
Last month, BLM announced that it would relocate its Washington D.C. headquarters to Grand Junction, bringing 27 mostly high-end positions to the area. More than 50 jobs would move to the Front Range from Washington.
If BLM were to select the building for its new headquarters, Padalecki feels the government entity would be a good tenant and it would be good for the community to be able to offer some new high-end office space. However, if BLM does not want to use the building, the airport has no immediate need for it, nor does it have $9.5 million to spend on it, Padalecki said.
"It might not be what (BLM is) looking for, but I would like to see if it's a possibility," she said. "If this is to become BLM headquarters, it'll be because it's exactly what BLM wants."
Construction on the administration building began in October 2013 after the airport received a $3.7 million reimbursement grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for a portion of the building.
After the FBI raided the airport in November 2013, the FAA pulled the grant the following March before it had paid out any funds. However, the airport had already put roughly $4 million toward the project. Construction was halted around that time and the building has remained incomplete ever since.