The following article previews of Grand Junction areas are from The Daily Sentinel’s Real Estate Weekly magazine. We like being able to provide our clients and potential clients with local information about what’s happening in various Grand Junction Areas across the valley. For more information about each Grand Junction area, click the headline or the “click here for more” links at the bottom of each article.
Grand Junction Areas:
There are a large number of construction projects underway or in planning stages in the city, where the city has built the infrastructure to handle growth and properties that have sat vacant or underutilized are getting attention.
“This building has been sitting too long,” said Brad Humphrey, who purchased 701 Main St. with a business partner, Rob Hanson, less than two months ago. “We decided to refurbish it and get it back on the market.”
The building has been vacant for about a decade, ever since the Cabaret Dinner Theatre closed its doors. When the owner listed the building for sale, Humphrey and Hanson made an offer on the first day it was listed.
“There were three offers on the first day,” Humphrey said. “We wanted to take care of these old buildings.”
The two partners hired Jim Jenson to act as the general contractor for the renovation. Improvements are designed to accommodate a restaurant user, and include a large grease interceptor and improved plumbing for sinks and bars. The outdoor space would make a great covered dining area, and the investors are installing roll-up glass doors that would blend the indoor and outdoor spaces together. When finished, their site will have 5,000 square feet of indoor space and 2,000 square feet of outdoor space.
There’s activity on nearby vacant lots to the east and to the southwest of 701 Main Street, with property owners beginning discussions with city planners for apartments, office space and additional retail spaces. Both proposals are in early stages, which means plans could change drastically before a shovel hits the ground.
A few blocks south, the building at 630 S. Seventh Street is listed for sale with Ray Rickard. The building has been vacant since StarTek relocated to North Avenue in 2012. The building is within one of seven designated opportunity zones in Grand Junction, which are federal designations that give tax incentives to new businesses in the zones.
The commercial real estate market has been slower to recover from the Great Recession than the residential market, which is typical, according to many local commercial brokers. Many commercial transactions are more complex, with a higher price tag than a typical 2,000-square foot home, and commercial deals often take years to work out the details, especially when there is significant remodeling that needs to be done to an existing building or new construction of a larger building on vacant land that may involve multiple tenants.
“Retail hasn’t come around and oil and gas hasn’t either,” said Sid Squirrel with Bray Commercial. “The only thing that’s saved us is companies relocating here because they can’t afford to expand on the Front Range. We’ve seen a lot of people on the residential side for several years, and now we’re seeing it on the business side.”
The City of Grand Junction has been working closely with the Grand Junction Economic Partnership to bring Las Colonias Park, and Riverfront at Las Colonias, the business park intended to be a home for local businesses involved in the outdoor recreation industry, to market. Efforts are moving along nicely.
“We’re wrapping up phase one of infrastructure ahead of schedule,” said Greg Caton, city manager of Grand Junction. Phase two construction will start this summer, and should be finished by the spring of 2019. During phase two, there will be additional bathrooms, a boat launch along the Colorado River, a dog park and a festival area.
At Home-ah in Loma
The west end of the Grand Valley is great place for people who want an agricultural lifestyle or who simply want to be out in the country, away from noise, neighbors and traffic. Loma and Mack are home to few urban or suburban conveniences, although there was recently a planning hearing for a new 300-foot cell tower north of Loma that could improve telecommunications to residents in the Lower Valley. Loma has a school, a post office and a general store, while Mack has a liquor store and a post office. Loma is also home to the Western Slope Cattlemen’s Auction, although that isn’t exactly a suburban amenity.
Loma does, however, have a food truck, which is pretty urban for the laid-back farm community. Of course, the food truck serves barbecue, offering traditional offerings like ribs, brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken and all the traditional sides.
“I live out there,” said Beth Burt, who operates Double B Barbecue and first set up her barbecue trailer at the Western Slope Cattlemen’s Auction on Wednesdays during the auctions while the restaurant was closed. “I developed a Loma following.”
Burt has been operating at the Loma Country Store Thursdays through Sundays since April, and she’s pleased with the amount of business she’s had.
“I’m meeting so many different people,” she said. “It’s funny how much traffic is through that little place.”
Although the urban amenities in Loma might be lacking, there’s no shortage of recreational opportunities. Loma is home to the famous Fruita mountain biking trails at Horsethief Bench, which have garnered Fruita a world-class reputation for mountain biking, even though the trails are in Loma. A majority of the riders in the area are from out-of-the-area in the spring and fall, but this time of year, it’s mostly locals who go out and ride early in the morning before the heat makes it unbearable. According to statistics from the BLM, there were 58,000 people visiting the Kokopelli trailhead in 2017.
New homes in the north area continue to sell at a brisk pace, which means buyers often have to write a contract and wait for months for their home to be built.
At Copper Creek North, where Silas and Chris Colman have been building Energy-star certified homes for several years, there are no move-in ready homes available for buyers.
“We’re seven months out,” said Naomi Colman, sales coordinator for Copper Creek Builders. The company is still building in the second filing of its subdivision, and has already sold about half of filing three. In the last year, Colman estimates that the company has built about 40 homes in the unique neighborhood, where some homes are clustered around a small community park.
At Summerhill, which was started more than a decade ago by Bray Development, Porter Homes recently began building homes in the second to last phase of construction.
“We’ve already sold four lots, and we have our Parade home under construction,” said Craig Huckaby, the listing agent for the new homes at Summerhill. There are 19 homes in the current filing, and 21 lots in the final filing.
According to Huckaby, prices are starting in the low to mid-$400s, but average around $480,000. Although Porter Homes can build smaller homes in the neighborhood, and the lots are relatively small, most people are choosing homes that are about 2,100 square feet.
Real estate companies renew investment in the valley
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 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.
Year in review
A decade ago, Mesa County’s economy and housing market were on the rise, thanks to a natural gas boom that brought jobs, workers and a housing shortage. Builders were frantically building in 2007, with 669 new single family building permits issued, and 2,866 total home sales in 2008. When natural gas prices plummeted at the end of 2008, jobs disappeared, workers began to leave, and plans for new subdivisions were put on hold.
The real estate market began a steady dive, bottoming out in 2010, when there were 179 new home starts and only 1,696 homes sold. Sales of existing homes started to pick back up in 2011, along with the number of new housing starts. The growth was slow, however, with small increases in property values, the total number of homes sold and the number of new housing starts. The Front Range boomed, while the Mesa County housing market seemed to crawl.
Fast forward to 2017. The market found its legs and began to run, with more than 3,500 sales through November and 664 new housing permits through Dec. 27.
Trail Edge Townhomes is the first residential development built to take advantage of the recreational opportunities available at Las Colonias Park, including access to the Colorado Riverfront Trail, the disc golf course, and the amphitheater. There will be 14 units total. Ray Rickard with RE/MAX 4000 is the listing agent for the development.
PENNY STINE/ Real Estate Weekly