By Penny Stine
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, properties that have been sitting vacant or were underutilized are now 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 opportunity zones have made a difference,” said Ray Rickard, who has had several showings of the S. Seventh St. property. “If a property qualifies, it opens it up to buyers. It’s another tool to help incentivize growth.”
Further south, Darin Carei recently received a planning clearance from the city for the remodel of the Atlasta Solar building at 1111 S. Seventh Street, at the corner of Riverside Parkways and S. Seventh Street.
“We hope to break ground within 30 days and want to be moved in by the end of the year,” Carei said. In addition to housing Atlasta Solar, the new building will also be the home of Energywise Consultants and Senergy Builders, two other businesses owned by Carei.
“We’re excited about everything that’s going on around us,” said Carei about nearby development. “It’s all exciting stuff and it’s great for Grand Junction.”
The brand new Riverfront Trail townhomes that border Las Colonias Park and Struthers Avenue have sold well, and construction will start soon on seven more townhomes across the parking lot. The developers have also begun the application process with the city for a small commercial development that fronts Struthers.
The Downtown Assisted Living Suites facility on First Street and White Avenue should be complete and ready for residents by Labor Day Weekend.
“We’re in the process of hiring staff members,” said Marlene Curry, the administrator for the assisted living facility.
The downtown core isn’t the only area within the city that’s experiencing redevelopment. On North Avenue, a new Starbucks is nearing completion east of 12th Street., across from Lincoln Park. G.J. Gardner is also making progress on its new showroom at 1350 North Ave. The new space will give the residential construction company about 5,000 square feet.
“We’re going to have a bigger design center,” said Lawrence Balerio, owner of the Grand Junction G.J. Gardner franchise. “We just added a sales manager and a project manager.”
There are several other projects in the city center, many of which include residential construction, in planning stages. Ongoing revitalization efforts make this an interesting time to live or work in the city’s central area.