Commercial going fast, high in Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Glenwood Springs’ commercial property is being scooped up quickly, after an abundance of vacancies from the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been “dead spots” throughout the city that are now filling up quickly.
“The vacancy rate is like 5% in Carbondale and Glenwood right now,” Integrated Mountain Properties Partner/Broker Associate Matthew Rubsamen said. “There’s very little vacancy.”
He said there’s been about a 20% increase in the cost of commercial property in the last two years, and maybe a 15% year-to-year increase in that time.
Although there is an increase in commercial property, he said business owners on the Front Range and elsewhere are not interested in paying Glenwood Springs rates for office space. If people outside of town are investing in commercial property, it is in retail commercial space.
“Commercial real estate cap rates seemed to be, and are, currently stable and a safer asset,” he said.
There is a variety of new businesses popping up throughout Glenwood Springs, like Roaring Fork locals, mostly from Aspen, Dyna Mei Sanchez Rimkus partnering and leasing the Aspenite, and then her and her husband Tobias Rimkus leasing the Rimkus Real Estate ERA Powered on Grand Avenue, which they characterize as a Colorado-based luxury brokerage.
The Hotel Denver was also recently purchased by an Aspen local, Tony Sherman.
At the same time, some locally-owned, mom-and-pop storefronts who lease their spaces are having a harder time keeping up with the fast increase in property value.
The building at the northwest corner of Eighth Street and Cooper Avenue was purchased by someone from out of the county hoping to use it for something different than what’s there now.
As such, the Bleu Door Boutique and Cooper Gallery were told they would not be able to renew their leases because the new building owners had different plans for the location. Both Lindsey Johnson at Cooper Gallery and Dawn Cleveland from the Bleu Door said they were unable to find any local commercial property they could afford to move to.
Cleveland, who is currently on a month-to-month lease at her location, said that many alternative locations she’s looked at are too big and too expensive, and there is no other commercial property in town that works for what she would need.
“My business is probably 80% supported by the locals,” she said.
She has been in business in the Roaring Fork Valley for 25 years, and she is not sure where she will go when her month-to-month is discontinued. She said she has always been community-driven, donating and contributing when and where she can, and she fears that will not continue with bigger companies coming in.
Johnson said she is unsure what will happen to the gallery when their lease ends in August 2024.
There is rumor that the new building owners are hoping to put a “beer spa” in the location of Cooper Gallery and the Bleu Door Boutique. The property management company was unable to confirm the business, and the property owners did not get back with the Post Independent to confirm what they plan for the space.
Some local companies have been able to adjust, like White Lodge Tattoo, which recently leased the old office location for the Post Independent at 824 Grand Ave., Rubsamen said.
The city’s website has an interactive map that shows all available commercial properties in the city. The city updates the map through a third party who finds the properties from local brokers.
A couple of interesting properties currently for sale include the Glenwood Springs Hostel and the commercial property where the City Market grocery store is located. City Market leases that space.
Some of the other “dead spots” are more “retail dead spots” in town, which is one reason the city has been working on a downtown overlay to keep the city thriving and lively, Glenwood Springs Director of Development Hannah Klausman said.
Although the city recently discussed the downtown overlay in a public meeting to let members of the community offer their input, the overlay is still being completed before it goes back to City Council for approval.
The overlay would also not halt something like a “beer spa” but does aim to deter non-sales tax revenue businesses from filling up the downtown core and creating spaces without retail businesses, which halt tourists from shopping farther south into Glenwood Springs.
Danielle Campbell, the Glenwood economic development specialist, created many helpful tools for people looking to buy commercial property, including the interactive map. Klausman and Campbell ask that prospective buyers contact the city for any information and planning.
“We always try to get that education piece out there and welcome early conversations to talk about visions and dreams and goals, so that we can better align them with the regulations and the benefits that we have currently, and things that city council is discussing, so that people are also aware of future changes to areas that have been identified,” Klausman said.
Post Independent city and business reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at email@example.com or 970-384-9131.