(This sponsored content was provided by the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.)
5 Reasons to Invest Your Opportunity Zone Funds in Grand Junction
Grand Junction has the 10th largest GDP in the state
Photo courtesy Bonsai Design depicts Riverfront at Las Colonias Park, one of seven Opportunity Zones in Grand Junction, CO.
As the only metropolitan area in western Colorado, Grand Junction has the 10th largest GDP just behind the nine counties that make up the Denver metro area. The Grand Junction Regional Airport ̶ with 17 daily, direct flights ̶ makes business travel easy and affordable. Colorado Mesa University, which is the fastest growing university in Colorado with an enrollment of 11,000, provides a highly qualified workforce to some of the state’s strongest industries ̶ healthcare, manufacturing, energy and tech.
Here are five more reasons to make your Opportunity Zone investment in Grand Junction:
Economic Indicators Point Up
Over the past few years, Grand Junction has worked hard to diversify its economy, invest in needed amenities and infrastructure and attract young families and professionals. That work is paying off. All Grand Junction’s economic indicators are trending in a positive direction.
In the past year, the local area has experienced 3% job growth, 8% increase in sales tax revenue, 8% increase in lodging tax revenue, 7.4% increase in home values, 5.5% growth in the average annual wage and a 4.2% growth in its GDP.
Economic forecasters fully expect those trends to continue as more people move into the area in search of the Colorado they were promised.
The Most Affordable Metropolitan Area in Colorado
Grand Junction real estate is still affordable, giving you larger margins on your investments. Prices per square foot for land, office, commercial and industrial are a little less than half of what they are in the Denver Metro area. Population in-migration continues to rise, as Front Range residents flee a high cost of living for a housing market that is half the cost of the Denver market – and without the traffic.
Currently, a low inventory of housing and high demand in the rental market make the Grand Junction area a safe spot for market rate and above market rate apartments. The same holds true for Class A office space – another area where inventory does not meet demand.
More Opportunity Zones Than Any Other City
Mesa County has seven Opportunity Zones. Six of those zones are in the City of Grand Junction and one zone covers the top of the Grand Mesa, which includes Powderhorn Mountain Resort.
The City of Grand Junction invested $14 million into a 140-acre waterfront park development located along the Colorado River, all of which is within an Opportunity Zone. Nestled within the park is a 15-acre business park anchored by park designer Bonsai Design, as well as RockyMounts, which recently relocated to the park from Boulder. This project has turned a formerly blighted area of the city into a live-work-play destination and has spurred development all around the park.
Mixed-use commercial projects, as well as housing, are cropping up in this riverfront Opportunity Zone, making Grand Junction one of the first places in Colorado that is truly seeing results from the Opportunity Zone tax incentive.
Grand Junction Embraces Growth
Western Colorado has room to grow and the resources to support that growth. It also has a culture of collaboration that supports sustainable development and a comprehensive plan that makes sure that growth is done in a smart way for the future. Fully recognizing that time means money, Grand Junction has a straight-forward planning and permitting process that takes just 90 days from application to approval. The Rural Jump Start tax incentive allows new businesses to operate tax-free for up to eight years. It has enabled the recruitment of 13 new companies to Grand Junction. Combining an Opportunity Zone fund with the Rural Jump Start tax credit creates a higher return on your investment.
Grand Junction is a Safe Investment
The growth and prosperity of the Denver Metro market has been slow to reach the rural parts of the state. However, Grand Junction – located along I-70, halfway between Denver and Salt Lake City – is feeling the effects of the reverse migration happening in many parts of the country, as urban corridors become overcrowded and unaffordable. With a population of 150,000, Grand Junction is a mid-sized market that’s attracting growth due to its small-town charm combined with big city amenities.
Strong economic growth, affordable real estate and seven Opportunity Zones make western Colorado the sweet spot for Opportunity Zone investors looking for a safe bet.
Robin Brown is the executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, the economic development organization for Mesa County, the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita and the town of Palisade. For more information on our Opportunity Zones, go to www.gjep.org.