While highway crews work to transform downtown’s busiest intersection, a Front Range developer is hatching plans to transform one of downtown’s biggest plagues.
Richmark Real Estate, a Front Range developer, is under contract to acquire the former City Market site at 200 Rood Ave. and a neighboring plot, with a view to building hundreds of apartments. Not only will this add more housing to the city center, but it will also activate a long-dead property, two major issues for local leaders.
“In reality, it will not be affordable housing. But I’m thrilled for it, ”said Abe Herman, a member of Grand Junction City Council, who has been a strong advocate for more housing. “This is the kind of development you want downtown. “
The 200,980 square foot City Market parcel would become the apartment building and parking lot, while the 12,525 square foot parcel at 327 N. Second St. would become a parking lot, according to the first plans.
On July 8, Vice President of Development Adam Frazier presented preliminary ideas for a major apartment complex to the Downtown Development Authority.
“We like to think of ourselves as adding value to the communities we work in, so we want to add high density housing to downtown Grand Junction. It’s a beautiful and vibrant part of the city and there is no need for business competition there, ”said Frazier. “It will be a place for people who want a modern downtown lifestyle choice.”
Richmark, a Greeley-based company, has developed elegant properties all over Colorado. In her hometown, she developed a Doubletree hotel and an upscale apartment building. It also helped turn a devastated part of Fort Collins into The Exchange, a community hangout in the city with places to eat and drink.
So how did a Front Range developer find their way here?
Richmark hired Shaw Construction to work on Six Canyon Apartments, a housing complex in Glenwood Springs with units rented between $ 1,800 and $ 2,200 per month. It was Richmark’s first adventure on this side of the Rocky Mountains. This partnership brought Frazier and others to Grand Junction more frequently, where they learned of the property’s existence and met Mike Park, a Coldwell Banker Commercial Properties broker for the former City Market property.
While the location, which was released in January 2019, gained a reputation as an eyesore, Richmark saw something else.
“We see this as one of the last pieces for your downtown,” Frazier said. “It’s a dynamic neighborhood. What struck me is that the main street allows people to walk around and it is inviting. With this project, we hope to open the door to what the city and DDA have created.
Richmark’s visions include adding 200 to 260 units. These would be mostly studios and one bedroom, with a few two bedroom units. Frazier told the DDA that these units would be for young single adults and young couples. Frazier said the rent would likely be between $ 1,000 and $ 1,300 per month.
PART OF THE HOUSING PORTFOLIO
If this project were to come to fruition, it would help solve the housing problem on which many inhabitants of the region are concentrated.
While June ended with more homes available in the real estate market than in May, according to the latest Bray report on real estate in Mesa County, that increase was still marginal. This in turn can force more people to search for rentals, which also puts a strain on this market.
Bringing in more housing has been a goal for the DDA for some time now. Other projects include future additions of The Eddy, a housing development of approximately 90 units in Las Colonias, The Lofts on Grand, a project at 950 and 1020 Grand Ave., and a potential development on the site of the former White Hall at Sixth Street. and Avenue Blanche.
“The DDA is excited about the prospect of the former city market site becoming housing, as it will help fill the need for downtown housing while also activating the downtown gateway. Richmark brings a lot of experience and a track record of great projects, so they seem like a perfect fit for this site, ”Brandon Stam, executive director of DDA, said in a statement. “Adding more than 200 additional units will create increased demand for restaurants, retailers and service providers. Plus, activating this dilapidated entrance to downtown could really transform the vibe of this neighborhood in a positive way. “
A LONG WAY TO TRAVEL
It all sounds good – more housing to alleviate Grand Junction’s expanding rental market and more money in the economy. So what’s the catch?
Well, the Richmark project is not even in its infancy.
First of all, Richmark does not officially own the property. Second, Frazier believes that these projects only succeed when the community is on board. So it needs to partner with the city and DDA, Frazier said.
Community support is the biggest hurdle Richmark faces, Frazier said, so it’s the top priority now.
If both happen as soon as possible, Richmark will still have to work out designs and secure funding for the project. It should be noted that construction costs are much higher now than in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After these two events, there would still be tons of paperwork to go through before even starting.
If all goes as smoothly as possible, Frazier assumes plans for the resort would be ready by the end of this year or early next year. Then the ground would open in summer 2022 and residents would move in by fall 2023.
“But it’s a perfect world, it’s probably not going to turn out like that,” Frazier said. “We think we have something good here and we hope the community will agree with us. If there is anyone who wants this, I urge them to contact their leaders.