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.

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 16 daily, direct flights, makes business travel easy and affordable. Colorado Mesa University is the fastest growing university in Colorado with an enrollment of 11,000, providing a highly qualified workforce for our strongest industries: healthcare, manufacturing, energy and tech. Our economic indicators are all trending positively with steady job growth while our cost of living and doing business make us an affordable option for those who want the Colorado experience without the high prices found along the I-25 corridor and resort communities.

Low housing inventory and an equally low time on market are evidence of demand for affordable and market-rate housing. A lack of Class A office space creates ample opportunity for developers to build mixed-use commercial developments that could include retail, restaurants and housing. An influx of new residents – from millennials to retirees – have created demand for all of the above development.

The City of Grand Junction has invested $14 million into a waterfront public/private park development that includes an amphitheater, festival area, ponds, a zipline over the Colorado River, as well as a whitewater park. Nestled within the park is a 15 acre business park anchored by local company Bonsai Design and RockyMounts, which is relocating from Boulder, Colorado. The business park is focused on outdoor recreation companies and light manufacturing, and has spurred development all around the park in what was formerly a blighted area of the city. Mixed use commercial projects, as well as housing, are all cropping up in this “opportunity zone,” making Grand Junction one of the first places in Colorado that is truly seeing results from the Opportunity Zone Tax Incentive. In other words, it’s working.

For more information on Grand Junction Opportunity Zones, please check out our page for Real Estate Developers. Robin Brown, Executive Director of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership, can be reached at