New year brings renewed activity in commercial real estate

Dale Beede

Quick question: What’s the single denominator that causes real estate sales and leasing to slow? Answer: Indecision.

Thank goodness the election is over, politicians insist we’re not falling off a fiscal cliff and we’ve entered a new year full of promise.  And thank goodness the indecision is over. 

Commercial real estate users and investors have realized that in spite of the games played in Washington, D.C., now is probably a good time to make the move to a new location or improve their properties for themselves or their tenants. The new year is upon us, and it’s a new year indeed.

Grand Junction has swarmed with contractors and developers this past month who are here to bid on the proposed new headquarters for the local office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It seems the current space for the BLM office isn’t sufficient. At least 30 to 40 potential bidders have been in Grand Junction to turn over every improved property and vacant parcel to find just the right location for their proposals. It doesn’t matter the same event occurred a few years ago and no BLM move was made. Hopefully, this time the Grand Valley will be rewarded with the property sales and new construction jobs that come with a planned move of this size.

January also marks the month many New Year’s resolutions are implemented. We see sellers with a renewed focus on making properties more attractive for buyers and tenants. We also see renewed activity in office leasing. 

Companies are still expanding or contracting, so movement is the leasing market continues to occur. While stable, the energy sector is still licking its wounds from a glut of available natural gas and the low prices that continue to slow the market. We don’t expect a lot of movement among players in the natural gas market this year in terms of real estate sales and leases — except that a greater number of mergers and acquisitions are expected. Time will tell if our local market will see a pickup or not.

What continues to be hot? Retail. Welcome to the new Sprouts in the Rimrock Marketplace, TJ Maxx at Grand Mesa Center and Tractor Supply across from Mesa Mall. That’s not to mention some proposed new casual food outlets expected to expand into the Grand Junction market over the next year. These investments in Grand Junction have helped to build construction and service-sector jobs. And jobs is what our economy is all about.

So, what are we missing? A Denver distribution company visited the Grand Valley twice in recent weeks looking for a 20,000-square-foot, dock-high building for long-term lease. Not a single building was found that met their needs. Chances are, a group of farsighted investors will be found to remedy this situation or we’ll continue to send these companies elsewhere.

Hopefully, 2013 will be the year our economy rebounds significantly and common-sense leadership once again becomes the norm. Here’s to your success this year.