Why you need to watch these four hot real estate projects

Development in Montrose, Pueblo, the National Western and I-70 ramps up

Montrose investment goes outdoors

Over the last two years, Mayfly Outdoors has purchased 150 acres along 1.5 miles of the Uncompaghre River in Montrose, where it plans to develop a business park catering to outdoor-focused companies while restoring the river into a fly-fishing habitat.

The first phase of the Colorado Outdoors project will be a 35,000-square-foot headquarters facility for Abel Reels and Ross Reels, two of Mayfly’s subsidiaries. The second phase will be the strategic expansion of infrastructure

within the development, including upgrading roads and expanding fiber optic capacity while recruiting additional outdoor businesses.

“This project is a revitalization of the north end of town,” said David Dragoo, president of Mayfly, a Colorado-based
outdoor industry investment company. “We have some prospective tenants — some local, some from the Front Range and some from out of state.”

The third phase includes a retail development with a river walk featuring restaurants, cafes shops and other local enterprises. The project also could have a residential component, depending on demand in the community.

Over the next 10 years, Colorado Outdoors is expected to create 1,205 permanent jobs, according to an economic impact analysis conducted by Anderson Analytics. Total annual payroll impact is estimated at $71 million, and annual economic output is estimated at $254 million.

“This is an exciting project because it means building a future for Montrose that will attract great businesses and fly-fishing enthusiasts from all over the world while helping sustain one of our greatest assets: the Uncompahgre River,” Dragoo said.

National Western Center: Potential for innovation and jobs

Returning the National Western Complex to its original purpose as a center of agriculture could be just the ticket to boosting economic development in the north Denver neighborhood, according to a recent study of the area.

“We’re in a really strong position to compete nationally and internationally in agribusiness,” said Kelly Leid, executive director of the National Western Center. “We’ve homed in on six or seven different industry clusters that Colorado could play a role in.”

Those clusters include water, infrastructure, energy related engineering; beverage manufacturing; specialty foods manufacturing; cattle and dairy manufacturing; agriculture-related aerospace UAV mapping; cattle, dairy, animal health and testing. The pay for jobs ranges from an average of $19 an hour to $44 an hour, according to the NextGEN Agribusiness Economic Development Study.

“We need to focus resources on building these sectors in and around the National Western campus to drive innovation and job creation,” Leid said.

Expanding the conversation beyond entertainment is key to capitalizing on the opportunity the campus offers the region. One focus should be on the development of an “Innovation District” that would leverage federal funding for research to spin off ideas into private sector opportunities. Though the research park model has been around for decades, recent changes have taken it from a traditional university-led development to tech transfers and partnerships with the private sector. The model also moved from suburban campus locations to denser urban locations connected by transit and anchored by a more diverse mix of uses.

Help arrives for Pueblo’s historic Goodnight Barn

Armed with a $200,000 grant from the State Historic Fund, the Goodnight Barn Historic Preservation Committee is nearing its goal of restoring a piece of Pueblo’s history.

Over the last two years, the committee has stabilized the barn and completed construction drawings. The grant, which the committee is raising funds to match, will help with repairing the barn’s stonework and masonry, built by Texas cattleman Charles Goodnight in 1870.

“At that point, the big beams that are holding up the barn will come down because it will be safe and secure again,” said Laurel Campbell, co-chair of the committee.

Goodnight became one of the first ranchers to move Longhorn cattle north from Texas to mining country in Colorado, and railheads in Wyoming and Kansas to ship beef east beyond Kansas City.

He and his partner, Oliver Loving, established perhaps the most important and heavily traveled cattle trail in the American west. His Rock Canyon Ranch west of Pueblo served as the northern headquarters of the Goodnight-Loving Trail.

Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, is a fictionalized account of Goodnight and Loving’s third cattle drive. Woodrow F. Call represents Goodnight, and Augustus McCrae is Oliver Loving.

There’s still much work to be done, including restoring the arched doors — several of which are original — and creating a climate-controlled interior that will enable some artifacts to be displayed inside.

“When we’re done, we’re going to have a barn that represents the Western heritage of Pueblo and southern Colorado,” Campbell said.

Interstate 70 expansion finally in sight

After more than a decade of planning, the $1.2 billion expansion of Interstate 70 is expected to start construction in early 2018.

The Colorado Department of Transportation expects to receive a Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration early this year (2017) after spending 13 years working on the environmental impact study for the project, said Rebecca White, the Central 70 communications and government affairs manager for CDOT.

“We would expect an RFP to be issued this spring,” she said.

The plan calls for widening I-70 with the addition of tolled express lanes and frontage roads. It also would lower the elevated highway below grade between Brighton and Colorado boulevards.

The project’s defining feature is a 4-acre cover over the highway that will provide an active and public area with opportunities for sports, outdoor movies, concerts and farmers’ markets.

The project is not without its opponents, however. Community groups have asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to investigate potential civil rights violations in the state’s plan, saying the primarily Latino Elyria-Swansea neighborhood will bear the brunt of the project’s impact. Another group of neighbors and environmental advocates is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their involvement with the expansion.

But CDOT stands behind its plan that addresses an aging and congested highway while also reconnecting communities.

“We’ve got a very strong project that is very thoughtful to the Globeville/Elyria-Swansea area in particular,” White said.

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