GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A local business owner was planning to turn a vacant downtown lot into a multi-million dollar project. But plans have hit a brick wall.
Doug Simons, president of Enstrom Candies, wanted to make downtown the ‘it’ place to be. “We bought the corner ideally as an advocate for downtown,” he says.
That’s why Simons and his business partner Bruce Milyard purchased the vacant lot on the corner of 7th and Main Streets.
“The market was booming, economic conditions looked great,” Simons says.
The business partners had an ambitious project idea to build a $25,000,000 to $30,000,000 building with condos, garage space and store fronts. “People were calling asking when are you going to build that? We'd like to look at a condo,” says Simons.
But the property was purchased five years ago before the economy went south. “It looked very doable, but things look different today,” says Simons.
He says in order to pay for a project of that size, the condos would have to be pre-sold. But with the banks not lending, their vision is out of the question.
“There's going to have to be a demand for that type of development, willing financiers,” says Simons.
So the business partners have decided to put the lot up for sale and give someone else the opportunity to develop that corner.
“While we're in a holding pattern, we thought, why not put it on the market and see what happens,” says Simons.
Heidi Hoffman Ham, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, says Simon’s plans for a multi-functional building will best suit the corner of 7th and Main.
“That's the type of development we're really hoping to see in Downtown Grand Junction,” says Ham.
And Ham hopes that if someone buys the lot from Simons, they follow his idea. “Trying to get as many benefits for people on that space as possible. It's a somewhat different development strategy than if you're going out to the fringes of town,” says Ham.
For Simons and Milyard, they say if no one scoops up the property, they could reconsider their vision later, but say they will have to downsize.
“We hope that in the future we will be talking about a new project on the corner of 7th, just not today,” says Simons.