Up to 40 jobs may be headed to BLM headquarters

The new headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management will be housed at 760 Horizon Drive in Grand Junction.

The Bureau of Land Management headquarters relocation to Grand Junction now has a fixed address.

News that the agency had signed a lease agreement for office space at 760 Horizon Drive in Grand Junction was announced Friday afternoon in a press release from the office of U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. Gardner has been a longtime advocate of the relocation effort.

"On behalf of the state of Colorado, I am excited to welcome the Bureau of Land Management to its new home in Grand Junction," Gardner said in the release.

Robin Brown, executive director for Grand Junction Economic Partnership, has been following the relocation and assisting in the search for class A office space. In a text message to the Daily Sentinel, she commended the milestone for the agency's move.

"We are happy that they are moving forward and welcome BLM leadership and their families," Brown said.

News that the BLM headquarters would be moving to Grand Junction and bringing 27 positions was announced in July. Shortly after, the General Services Administration posted a request for proposal looking for office space to accommodate the new employees.

The request detailed a need for 4,500 to 5,000 square feet of space with the potential to expand to 15,000 square feet. The space also needed to be ready by Sept. 16, which ruled out any hopes that the unfinished airport administration building could be a possibility.

A listing on the economic partnership website for the 760 Horizon Drive building says it has 10,000 square feet of space available. Details of the lease agreement were not yet available, but the listed price online for the property is $25 per square foot per year.

The new headquarters office is less than a mile from the Grand Junction BLM field office at 2815 H Road.

As the headquarters' move creeps forward, however, Democrats in Congress and others have pushed back on the effort, with some claiming the move would diminish BLM's voice in Washington. D.C. Proponents say it is important for BLM leaders to be close to BLM lands.

"From the very beginning, moving the BLM's headquarters West has always been about strengthening the BLM's relationship with local officials, moving the decision makers closer to the lands they oversee and the people they serve, and making better land management decisions. This commonsense move will save taxpayers money and solidify Colorado's legacy as a responsible steward of public lands," Gardner said in Friday's release.

Congressional Democrats including U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., previously asked the Department of Interior to suspend the move, pointing to what they said was a lack of analysis and process ahead of the decision.

One of the figures at the center of the move is Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Bernhardt, who grew up in Rifle, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to head the Interior Department on April 11.

Bernhardt is reportedly scheduled to be in Colorado this weekend.

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