A local commercial real estate brokerage has broken ground on a 150-acre trucking and mixed use complex just off Interstate 70 near Limon.
The partnership created by Sam Cameron and Kevin Butcher of Cameron Butcher, purchased the land in 2006 for $800,000 from the family of long-time resident John Williams. By the time the project is completed, in three to four years, investment could exceed $15 million, infusing the town not only with sales tax generated by new business but also with new jobs.
The Marketplace Business Park, north and west of Exit 359, is scheduled to include a full-service truck fueling stop and restaurant, a limited service hotel, a NAPA truck and auto service center, and space for residential units, said Ron Clark, a broker with Cameron Butcher and former Limon resident.
Limon Town Manager Joe Keily said that nearly 20,000 vehicles pass through the area each day, and that number is expected to grow — increasing the need for business services with easy access locations near I-70.
Keily also is vice president of the Ports-to-Plains trade corridor, a coalition that has created a transportation route that originates in Mexico, travels through the mid-United States and ends in Saskatchewan, Canada. He has worked on the project for more than 10 years, and said that Limon is one of the key stops.
“Our truck count through Limon is increasing annually as we’re right on the direct route to Denver from Laredo, Texas, which connects to the north along Highway 71 to the Heartland Expressway with its final destination in Saskatchewan,” he said, adding that trucks traveling from Texas to Limon on Highway 287 account for 60 percent of all traffic. That figure is expected to grow by 6 percent annually.
Keily said he believes the project will meet a need among Midwestern producers who are looking for ways to access new or expanding ports in Corpus Christi, Mexico, near the Panama Canal and in western Canada for international trade. He said 17,000 new jobs will be created in Colorado once the corridor is completed. A total of 43,000 new jobs will be added nationwide.
So far, Keily sees the Marketplace development as a win-win for the developer and the community.
“We’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 (million) to $20 million of new investment in Limon,” he said. “Our current assessed value is $16 million, so figured at 29 percent, we’re adding a third more value to our infrastructure.”
The eastern plains community of 2,100 is home to two transportation-related complexes: a Travel America truck stop and the Flying J Truck Plaza. The latter was retrofitted from a former Husky station and needed room to expand.
Mike Miller, a regional real estate manager with Utah-based Flying J Inc. sees the new Limon facility not only as a good fit for his company, but for the surrounding community.
“We’ll not only bring a 24-hour restaurant and deli counter, a fast food court and ample fuel dispensers for cars, RVs and trucks, but we’ll also offer a bank teller machine and business services including overnight delivery drop boxes, a fax and full trip and load planning,” he said.
The company’s Country Market Restaurant & Buffet will cater to locals as well as the traveling public. Service is designed both for those in a hurry and for those who want to relax and refuel.
Community benefits, Miller said, will include the addition of 100 new jobs with another 150 secondary jobs created as a result of the center’s direct economic impact and the purchasing of local goods and services.
With just one-sixth of the property dedicated to the truck plaza, the remaining land has been drawing plenty of interest from local businesses and national chains.
Gary and Patty Davis of Limon will invest nearly $1.2 million in the 90-unit Country Horizons RV Park, which will include a clubhouse and pool.
“As soon as we put the sign up, we started getting calls,” Clark said, adding that the developer is reviewing bids from general contractors. The Flying J Travel Plaza is expected to open this fall.
He said grading and earthwork could begin during the next 30 days, “once we’re out of the freeze mode.”
Based on progress so far, Cameron described the Marketplace project as “about as good as it gets.”
“If you’d asked me two years ago, I’d never have guessed we’d be in Limon, but the town has been great to work with and appreciates what we’re doing,” he said. “The new Flying J will be such a nice facility that it will force its competitors to remodel just to keep up.”
The partners have another 50-acre parcel under contract near Sterling, on Interstate 76, and are looking at other opportunities in Colorado and Wyoming.
“Limon will be a hard act to follow,” Cameron said. “Highway 24 virtually dead ends at I-70 and you’ve got direct access off Exit 359. Not every site lays out that well.”