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Enjoy a River of New Developments in Grand Junction, CO

New projects revitalize riverfront with a variety of retail, restaurants, businesses (and fun activities!).

By Joe Morris on February 4, 2023

Las Colonias Park in Grand Junction, CO
Devon Balet

The Colorado River has long been a focal point for communities throughout the Grand Valley, and now a flurry of activity along its banks is sure to create even more interest. Two large, multiuse projects, both situated along the river in Grand Junction, are benefiting from a business-friendly climate, robust and shovel-ready infrastructure, and a superior workforce.

“There is a lot of collaboration here to create a climate where companies want to be and where developers want to create something special,” says Curtis Englehart, executive director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership. “Everyone here, from the cities of Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade to Mesa County, does an incredible job because it’s not about who’s getting credit; it’s about all of us winning.”

That approach has led to the development of Riverfront at Las Colonias Park and Riverfront at Dos Rios, two multifaceted projects in Grand Junction. Riverfront at Las Colonias Park is a 140-acre site containing a 15-acre business park, 5,000-seat amphitheater, and river park with two standing waves, boat ramp, trails and ponds. Future plans include a zip line across the river.

The Dos Rios complex is equally ambitious. Its 58 acres include almost 16 acres of parks and open space, 9.5 acres for light industrial/commercial occupants and 10.2 acres for mixed-use development. It features easy access to the river and downtown, as well as rail systems and green space, making it a perfect location to live, work and enjoy the area’s many quality-of-life offerings.

Grand Junction Adventures in Grand Junction, CO
Grand Junction Adventures

Business Is an Adventure

As might be expected for an area with amazing natural resources, outdoor adventures have a strong foothold here as both businesses and recreational activities.

One of the Las Colonias tenants is Bonsai Design, which manufactures zip lines and aerial adventure courses in locations around the world. Another tenant, Grand Junction Adventures, offers rentals, mountain bike shuttles and guided river trips.

They will soon be joined by El Jet’s Cantina + Sky Outpost, which will encompass 5 acres in the park. This unique venture is a mix of outdoor recreation, wellness and hospitality, offering unique lodging in renovated “silver-bullet” style caravans, a cantina-style eatery and more.

“This endeavor started 19 years ago,” says Jen Taylor, founder of El Jet’s Cantina + Sky Outpost, which is being developed in partnership with HighGround Hospitality. “Our valley is so rich with these outdoor resources, and the mission for us is to be a bridge to bring people and place together. It’s a story of being proud of where I live and being able to create a place that is a decompression zone along the river. People can come here to really take it all in and enjoy our natural resources.”

Diverse Business Community

These and many other newer developments showcase the growing variety of businesses that are, or soon will, call the Grand Valley home. The goal now is to diversify even further, Englehart says, creating even more opportunities for entrepreneurs and benefits for area residents.

“These large, unique projects have an amazing feel to them and are proof that our community is taking economic development very seriously,” he says. “We have a lot of options for growth here, and we are focused on developing the land and the infrastructure so we can bring in industries who are good fits for our communities.”

“Obviously, we’ve had great success with outdoor-recreation companies, joining the information-technology and manufacturing industries that have done well here,” he adds. “I’d tell anyone who is looking to start or relocate a business that we’ll work to remove barriers they may not have even thought of, doing everything we can to make the process as easy and seamless as possible for them to get started.”

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