In addition to helping residents find a place they want to call home, the local real estate industry has also contributed to the area's economy in the last few years via construction and remodeling projects. Several companies have purchased and remodeled buildings, signed long-term leases in more visible locations and generally put their money where their mouth is by making significant investments in a new home for their businesses.

Downtown

Downtown has become a hot spot for real estate offices, starting with Hummel Real Estate's purchase of its office three years ago, and continuing with the opening of River City Real Estate downtown in 2016, the Mountain Coast Group at Keller Williams' purchase of a downtown building in 2017 and the relocation of both Coldwell Banker Prime Properties and United Country Real Colorado Properties.

"Everybody likes being downtown," said Ronda Hummel with Hummel Real Estate, who added that the walkability of the location, both for employees and customers, has been a huge plus. Her office is the first real estate office many of the visitors at the downtown hotels see when they stroll downtown for dinner.

"We've seen downtown grow and change," said Andrea Haitz with Keller Williams Mountain Coast Group, who, together with her husband and business partners Amanda and Chris Potter, purchased the Mercantile Building at 546 Main St. "We see it as a legacy in our families."

The partners have made many improvements including a new HVAC unit and better insulation, and have a long list of future improvements.

"It (the building) needed some love, the tenants needed an owners, and our team was taking a lot of space at the Keller Williams office," Haitz said.

The Mountain Coast team set up shop in the lower level, and tenants like the Main Page and MX Tapas continued business as usual on the main and upper floors.

While downtown offers great convenience with nearby restaurants and other real-estate related businesses, like title companies and mortgage brokers, it's also a destination for tourists, which is another huge attraction.

"We sell lifestyle," said Omar Richardson, co-owner of the United Country Real Colorado Properties which moved to a downtown location last spring. "What could be more of a lifestyle than downtown Grand Junction on Main Street?"

The new office gave the company room to add more agents, including three who are new to the real estate industry and three who migrated from other firms. Since moving downtown, the company has been a supporter of downtown events and has participated in many, including the Fridays after Five, an initiative sponsored by the business improvement district, which encouraged downtown businesses to remain open until 8 p.m. on Fridays.

"On the very first night, someone stopped by who was visiting the downtown area and was considering moving his business here," Richardson said. The business owner had been communicating with the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, but hadn't yet met with any local real estate agents. That changed, of course, when a local United Country agent happened to be sitting outside the office saying hello to those who strolled by the Main Street office that Friday after five. Although the individual hasn't yet made a decision about relocating, it was a positive sign that the downtown move was a sound one.

Cendera Funding made a huge investment downtown with the $4 million-plus remodel of it's building at 128 N. Fifth St. In addition to creating a great office space for itself and an equally impressive office for tenant, Abstract Title, the mortgage company wanted to create spaces that could be enjoyed by the entire community.

When Cendera bought the building, it also purchased an empty lot next door, where it has built a fantastic outdoor patio. The company hopes to host community events out in the patio during the summer, and also hopes to have a wine/bar or coffee shop tenant in the space next to the patio soon.

In addition to creating a great facade and interior spaces on the main and second floor, Cendera also remodeled the lower level, adding natural light to offices and an enormous community room with a kitchen. The community room is available for any business or civic group to use for free.

Vault on North Avenue

Although downtown is a great location, it's not the only viable location in town, and Matt Telinde, along with his business partner, Scott Schindelar, are excited about the Vault, their newly renovated building at 2755 North Ave. The building was built in the 1960s, but it sat vacant for almost five years and had fallen into disrepair when the partners purchased it in late 2015.

"The idea is to make Grand Junction a nicer place," said Schindelar. When the two purchased the building, they envisioned it as a co-working space where those who were involved in the business of real estate, including independent real estate brokers, insurance representatives, surveyors, engineers, drafting professionals and others involved in any aspect of development, construction and home ownership, could make a home for their business, but also share common spaces with others in the industry and spur each other on in positive challenges and projects.

The building has great common areas, including a coffee bar, conference rooms, and flexible desk space for tenants who may be considering hiring additional employees. It also has dedicated fiber optic piped to the building.

"I want to be the change to make something happen," said Telinde about his decision to buy a dilapidated building on North Avenue. "The community needs new life."

Although the renovation took longer than expected, at a higher cost, the finished product is fairly spectacular and unlike most professional spaces in Grand Junction, with modern, sleek finishes, lots of natural light and open spaces. It also enjoys practical touches like a new HVAC unit that will keep the building comfortable in both January and July. The building is about 15 percent leased, and Schindelar and Telinde are accepting additional tenants, who will be vetted as a good fit for the co-working space prior to signing the lease.

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