When 27 Bureau of Land Management positions and the organization's headquarters are moved to Grand Junction, the new Grand Valley residents will face a tight residential market but nothing, one realtor says, the area can't handle.
In fact, if relocating from the Washington D.C. area, Bray Real Estate Development Coordinator Kevin Bray believes newcomers will find a pleasant, affordable residential real estate market in Grand Junction.
"Anyone migrating in will be pleased with the attractiveness of the affordability of our housing market compared to other places, especially Washington D.C," Bray said.
Despite one month of inventory of homes priced under $300,000, Bray feels that the market can handle the 27 employees and their families who will be relocating to the Grand Valley. The Department of Interior announced Tuesday that the headquarters for the BLM and 27 mostly high-level positions will move to Grand Junction. That number could fluctuate depending on how many relocate from the Washington D.C. area and how many are new hires who could be locals or from other areas.
Those who own homes in the D.C. area, or in nearby Maryland or Virginia, could really enjoy shopping for a house in Grand Junction, where the median home price is just over $250,000. In Washington D.C. and surrounding areas, the median housing price exceeds $500,000, according to Zillow.
Newcomers will not, however, see a direct flight to the nation's capital anytime soon. Even when it was thought that up to 300 BLM employees could relocate to Grand Junction, the move was not contingent on a direct flight from Grand Junction to Washington D.C., according to Grand Junction Regional Airport spokesman Joe Burtard.
"We're excited to serve as the transportation hub for the BLM employees that will come here," Burtard said. "Our current air service is already convenient for BLM officials to get where they need to be when they need to be there."
While the airport is not looking to add a non-stop flight to Washington D.C. at this time, Burtard said it does look at expanding air service as a high priority.
The airport recently applied for a Small Community Air Service Development program grant that could add a non-stop flight to the San Francisco area within the next year. An increase to the city's lodging tax, which was approved last year, also enables the newly created Grand Junction Regional Air Service Alliance to subsidize airlines to start new non-stop flights.
"That's not to say that as BLM expands their roots in the community that we won't circle and revisit this," Burtard said.
Visit Grand Junction Director Elizabeth Fogarty feels the Department of Interior's decision to move BLM headquarters to the Grand Valley serves as some validation of efforts to brand the area as a haven for outdoor recreation with a laid-back lifestyle.
"I think for us, it reinforces the direction we've taken with evolving our destination brand and continuing to find a way to celebrate how we are different in the state," she said.
She added that it was exciting to see the community work together to market the area to the BLM and anticipates welcoming the newcomers when they arrive.
"It makes us all excited to share these experiences with the BLM team that will be moving here," she said. "We can't wait to share our favorite hike or favorite sculpture downtown."