Some businesses taking advantage of lower construction costs

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Local contractors say today’s construction costs are lower than they’ve been for a long time.

But while some businesses are taking advantage of them, they say for the most part, business isn’t knocking on the door.

"We're about four months ahead of schedule and $1.3 million under our original estimated cost for the project," says Joe Burtard of Ute Water.

Ute Water’s new headquarters has already been under construction for 12 weeks and they say they have the recession to thank for the early construction and cheaper prices.

"Our Board of Directors made the decision to move this project up four months in order to take advantage of the cheaper costs in construction," he says.

On the other side of town, Hooters is just days away from opening and officials there are also pointing to cheap construction costs as the reason why they’re launching earlier than they thought they would be.

Local contractors say while some businesses are using the situation to their advantage work is still very hard to come by.
“There's a dental clinic in town, that project was shelved and now it was out to bid and they've taken advantage of the lower pricing,” says Frank Desantis of PNCI Construction. “Municipalities, school districts, utilities have taken advantage of lower costs but in private industry we have not seen that at all."

The Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce recently polled local businesses to find out how the economy is affecting them.

Diane Schwenke of the Chamber of Commerce says, "Out of 400 businesses, 60 percent of them are saying they're continuing to delay capital expenditures probably for the next year."

Chamber officials say while businesses would typically jump at an opportunity to make improvements while costs are down, their confidence is down and credit is tight.
"Businesses typically do budget for some capital expenditures. But again, that comes out of your profits and a lot of businesses right now are not profitable,” Schwenke says.

Something, they say, that likely won’t change until at least midway through next year.

"Once they're convinced that it's sustainable, then I think you'll start to see businesses and consumers making investments,” she says.

The City says it’s received news that a new major player is interested in taking advantage of those low costs.

Officials say an unnamed big box retailer is seriously considering opening up shop at the Rim Rock Shopping Center.

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