Retail to coworking conversion planned

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Jonathan Kamins looks around the vacant space inside a Grand Junction building and sees desks. He sees conference rooms and comfortable furnishings for people to relax and talk.

More than anything, Kamins said he sees the potential for a coworking space to accommodate entrepreneurs and startups. “We have a great opportunity.”

Kamins, who owns the building near the intersection of Seventh Street and North Avenue, plans to convert what’s long been a retail outlet into a coworking space he said will offer tenants affordable office space and high-speed internet access along with flexibility and convenience.

Dale Beede, a broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial Properties in Grand Junction who’s working with Kamins on the project, said the facility will help meet what he sees as growing demand in the Grand Valley and what he expects will become a technology sector hub. “I think we’re just at the tip of the iceberg here.”

Kamins and Beede said they’re in the process of securing an operator for the coworking space as well as tenants. Renovations also are planned for inside and outside the building as is a deli or cafe.

Kamins oversees a Denver-based real estate investment company with properties in 23 states.

The building in Grand Junction houses a Zoup restaurant franchise, the Old Man Grill and Body Relaxing massage therapy. The building also housed an REI Co-op until that outlet relocated in 2018 to a larger building on Independent Avenue.

Kamins said it was challenging to find a new tenant because the 13,000-square-foot space is too large for some businesses, yet too small for others. “This is a very unique size.”

He decided instead to open a coworking space. Coworking spaces have grown in popularity for offering inexpensive office space for an entrepreneur or small startup. Coworking spaces also tend to promote collaborative efforts among the businesses that use them, he said — software development and website design firms, for example. “It works beautifully.”

Beede agreed. “It creates so much energy. This kind of a business is just an energy magnet.”

Kamins said he envisions a mostly open area with office spaces measuring 12 foot by 12 foot. Conference rooms also will be available, as will smaller booths in which tenants can make telephone calls. The space also will offer what Kamins calls collaboration corners offering couches and other comfortable furnishings for tenants to relax and talk.

Kamins foresees the installation of large doors that function like garage doors that roll up and offer access to patio seating on the exterior of the building when the weather is nice, but also roll down and seal.

Kamins said he expects to renovate the exterior in two phases — the first phase for the coworking complex and the second phase for the remaining part of the building housing the other businesses. “It will look brand new.”

The building already offers ample parking as well as a central location in Grand Junction, he said.

Beede said the price of using the coworking complex will vary with how much space a tenant wants, but will offer an affordable option at rates of $140 a month.

Kamins said individuals who need only seating space can arrange for that, too.

In addition to the coworking complex, Kamins also plans to open in space on the north side of the building a small deli or cafe that can cater to the people working at the complex.

While the Grand Valley already offers coworking space, including the Factory in downtown Grand and F-Works in the Fruita Civic Center, Kamins and Beede said there’s demand for additional space.

Lower housing costs, a higher quality of life and the ready availability of commercial air service have combined to make the Grand Valley an increasingly attractive place to live and do business, they said. That’s especially true for entrepreneurs who bring along their technology sector startups.

“I’m confident,” Beede said. “Tech is here and it’s not going anywhere.”

Kamins said he grows excited when he looks around at what’s, for now, a vacant space and realizes it soon could be filled with desks, conference rooms and furnishings — along with entrepreneurs and startups.

For additional information about the proposed coworking complex, contact Dale Beede at Coldwell Banker Prime Properties at 246-6615 or dbeede@cbcwest.com.