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Granby approves new 5.7-acre commercial development

With recent town approval of a 5.7-acre commercial development called The Commons of Granby Ranch, developer, attorney and Winter Park Planning Commissioner David Michel said his build-out process will be “methodical and careful” in these economic times.

“Our philosophy is not, ‘If you build it they will come,’ rather, ‘If they come, we’ll build it,'” Michel said.

Across the highway from City Market on Granby Ranch property, the project has a potential build-out for 87,800 square feet of commercial dispersed in a village of roughly 12 buildings.



Michel said he is settling in for a 5- to 7-year phase-in of the development.

The Commons proposes more than one restaurant, a possible bank, possible liquor store and a varied mix of retail and home-improvement businesses. Michel envisions it as a place for mountain businesses to expand or relocate.



“We are thrilled to have the development,” said Senior Vice President for Development at Granby Ranch Kyle Harris. “It will be a wonderful benefit to the town of Granby, as well as our own homeowners within Granby Ranch.

“The developer has a realistic expectation about what is happening in the marketplace,” Harris said, “and the development will be phased. It’s not dependent upon construction of all components immediately.”

Ever since Granby Ranch annexed into the town, the parcel that includes the Granby Ranch sales center has been slated for commercial development and is zoned ‘mixed use’ in the Ranch’s planned development.

Michel said he’s not out for the “quick buck” but aims for a long-term investment that is “really good for the community … and it’s my community; I live here,” he said.

No parking lots exist in the Commons ” “I personally hate parking lots because I feel like you have to have a death grip on kids,” Michel said. Michel’s concept of a “town square” shows curb diagonal parking similar to Grand Lake’s.

The Commons has enlisted the architectural work of Sonny Neely of Neely Architecture, Breckenridge.

“The architectural standards will be grounded in Granby’s ranching heritage,” Michel said, adding that the Commons is expected to boost all of Granby, including the downtown.

“I want the downtown to be more successful,” he said. “Granby needs something to happen, they don’t need more failures. I feel like this is going to create that critical mass needed to make Granby a destination.”

But it wasn’t long ago that Michel was discouraged about developing in Granby when the town was between town managers. The developer said working with five different consultants minus a point person caused him to nearly bail.

He said he also ran into “a heap of exactions and requirements” that were “stymieing the project and making it unprofitable.”

Eventually Granby hired its town manager Wally Baird. Mayor Jynnifer Pierro was the new mayor.

“If it wasn’t for the efforts of Wally and Jynnifer, this project wouldn’t have happened,” Michel said. “They didn’t let the project get destroyed by a couple of Front Range consultants wanting to bill more hours.”

On the night the project was approved, the town board addressed Michel’s complaints.

“One of the board members thought that what we charged David Michel was high, and we want to make sure we’re being fair,” Mayor Pierro said.

A few years ago at a time when potential development was coming in swift on all sides, the town had set up reimbursement agreements with its consultants, such as a contract planner and traffic consultant, designed so all development costs are paid by developers.

Prompted by the Commons project and others, the town board gave Baird direction at its last meeting to do research on towns comparable to Granby’s to investigate whether the town has a fair process of requirements and reimbursements.

“I’m excited,” Pierro said about the Commons approval. “It brings more potential for commercial in the town, and I’m excited for him. I look forward to seeing what comes out there.”

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.


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