Phil Castle, The Business Times
Bobby Noyes said he found what he was looking for in relocating his bicycle rack manufacturing company. “Grand Junction is the last cool, affordable town in Colorado.”
Noyes, founder and president of RockyMounts, was among those who spoke at a ceremony celebrating the start of construction on a facility for the company at Riverfront at Las Colonias Park.
RockyMounts is the first company to break ground in the 15-acre business park along the Colorado River south of downtown.
Bonsai Design — a company that designs, builds and installs adventure courses and ziplines for customers around the world — plans to begin construction on a new facility in the park in the spring. Other businesses also have expressed interest in building facilities there.
RockyMounts manufactures a variety of racks and locks for bicycles as well as ski and cargo racks.
The company was headquartered in Boulder, but Noyes said he was looking for a larger facility and different location for his operation and staff. Quality of life and a shorter commute for employees were priorities, he said.
While there was a risk involved in moving, there were also benefits, Noyes said. “I liked the odds with Western Colorado.”
Robin Brown, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, recalled how she met with Noyes to discuss a possible relocation. She said she showed him Las Colonias Park before a lot of the construction there had been completed and was worried about his reaction.
But Noyes could see the possibilities, Brown said. He could envision a move that would offer a better life for his employees and a better future for his business. “Bobby got it almost immediately.”
“We have a lot to celebrate today,” Brown said of not only the groundbreaking for RockyMounts, but also the development of the business park. “It’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of people.”
Duke Wortmann, mayor pro tem of Grand Junction, said the construction of the RockyMounts facility constitutes another step at a $30 million, 140-acre mixed-use development that already includes a park with a 5,000-seat amphitheater and multiple ponds. A river park with standing waves also is planned.
Bonsai Design plans to construct a zipline across the river and challenges course as part of its new facility.
With the groundbreaking for the RockyMounts facility, the business park will soon include businesses, Wortmann said. “Welcome. I can’t say it enough.”
Wortmann said he was grateful for the assistance the city has received from partners in the Los Colonias development, including state agencies that have awarded grants.
Doug Simons, chairman of the GJEP board of directors, said the Grand Junction Lions Club was among the early supporters of a riverfront park.
The development of the business park also depended on Grand Junction voters who in November approved a ballot measure allowing the city to permit 99-year leases on public lands, Simons said. Leases previously were limited to 25 years, a shorter-term which discouraged some businesses and lenders.
Noyes said the relocation of RockyMounts from Boulder to Grand Junction hasn’t been easy, but he’s been encouraged by the support and engagement his company has received.
Noyes also said he’s looking forward to the quality of life and shorter commutes the Grand Valley offers his employees.
But he warned the attributes that attracted him and RockyMounts to Grand Junction could disappear without proper planning to accommodate growth. “I’ve seen this rodeo come through town. We want some of the horses, but not the stable.”