APRIL 9, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City of Montrose
Office of the City Manager
433 South First Street
Montrose, CO 81401
Contact: William Woody, Public Information Officer
970.240.1439 | email@example.com | www.cityofmontrose.org
City Partners with MURA to Fund Site Improvements
for New Colorado Yurt Headquarters
Montrose, CO — The City of Montrose, in partnership with the Montrose Urban Renewal Authority (MURA), announced Wednesday the successful approval of an $853,935 loan from the MURA for permanent horizontal site improvements to make way for the new headquarters of the Colorado Yurt Company.
The loan will pay for non-building site improvements for the company's new 30,000 square-foot manufacturing facility and 3.4 acre campus to be located in Colorado Outdoors along the Uncompahgre River.
Owners John and Kelly Gibson of the Colorado Yurt Company are looking to break ground this coming summer. The estimated cost of construction for the entire campus is nearly $6.9 million.
The Colorado Yurt Company is a Montrose-based manufacturing company handcrafting yurts, tipis, and rugged canvas-wall tents that are shipped to customers around the globe. The company is expecting to grow its workforce from 37 current employees to over 60 in the three years following construction and increasing the average salary of employees from approximately $39,638 to $50,000 by 2023.
According to the agreement, the MURA will provide up to $853,935 towards horizontal site improvements to include horizontal site design and platting as well as horizontal site fill, curb, gutter, sidewalks, paving, lighting (parking lot only), drainage, fencing, striping, and landscaping construction.
Payment will be made for the actual costs of the improvements, up to $853,935 total, based on supporting invoices from contractors performing the work on eligible improvements at mutually agreed upon unit prices. Expenses associated with vertical building construction (including utility service lines feeding the building) are not eligible for reimbursement, according to the agreement.
"We are very excited to be partnering with Colorado Yurt Company, a strong and fast growing local manufacturing business. This project is the perfect example of why we created an Urban Renewal Authority here in Montrose,” Montrose City Manager Bill Bell said. “The business owner will focus on constructing a state of the art manufacturing complex, creating more good paying jobs for our community, and creating a beautiful improvement to our river corridor in Colorado Outdoors, and the City and URA will focus on infrastructure to support their efforts.”
John Gibson addressed the City Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, stating there is huge potential for growth in the outdoor/recreation industries and that an expansion of the business is unavoidable. Following Gibson's presentation, the council voted unanimously to approve additional incentives for the project, which included waivers on building permit fees totaling $105,000; $30,000 in "Made in Montrose" marketing assistance, and water and sewer connection fee abatements estimated at $29,065.
"The team at The Secret Creek Group, LLC and Colorado Yurt Company are excited to get started on our expansion at Colorado Outdoors. We appreciate the Montrose City Council and MURA support for our project," said John E. Gibson, CEO/Owner of the Colorado Yurt Company. "We anticipate 95 percent of the money approved from MURA to be spent directly to Montrose and Western Slope contractors. We look forward to making a difference for the Montrose community with our new facility and our walk-by display village along the Uncompahgre River."
Construction of the new facility is anticipated to be completed in 2022.
"I see this as the spark of growth we have been waiting to see in the Colorado Outdoors area. Business, industrial, and housing (Basecamp development) will be a great addition to Montrose," Montrose Mayor Doug Glaspell said.
Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a public financing tool used as a catalyst for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community improvement projects. Through the use of TIF, URAs typically pledge portions of the future property tax increment from a defined area or district toward these projects. According to the agreement, this loan will be paid back to the MURA over the course of several years via the TIF mechanism with a modest four percent interest rate.
Gibson said the campus design includes a "display village" along the city's Connect Trail and a public/private use restroom on the north end of the river trail.
“This is an important project for our community. Bringing in new companies and expanding local businesses will help create good-paying jobs and more opportunities for Montrose residents," Montrose City Councilor Barbara Bynum said. "It’s a strong financial plan as well; these new commercial buildings produce additional property taxes, which go back to the MURA to pay for the infrastructure costs.”
According to Gibson, when they purchased the 45-year-old Colorado Yurt Company about one year ago, the business was a well-respected manufacturer of yurts, tipis, and tents with customers in multiple markets around the world. However, growth had stalled and company culture was struggling. When they started “Colorado Yurt Company 2.0” in January 2020, they saw nothing but opportunity to grow, innovate, be involved in Montrose, and make the company the best place to work. They inherited a strong team with plenty of underutilized talent. In a year with the challenges of COVID, including supply chain disruptions, freight issues, and economic uncertainty, the business has thrived. Sales are up 45 percent, employees are engaged, customers are excited, and the company is becoming an active contributor to the Montrose community.
Gibson said all indications support continued growth in outdoor recreation, hospitality, and experience-based commercial businesses. Colorado Yurt Company is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of current and emerging consumer and commercial markets with the selection and quality of structures it offers, according to Gibson. Manufacturing innovation is in progress. New materials, product development, streamlined systems, improved employee engagement, and enhanced training will guide product manufacturing in the future.
To achieve this vision, Colorado Yurt Company needs a new space. The current facility is not adequate for current company needs and has no potential to accommodate growth. In addition, the current facility does not showcase the company’s reputation and professionalism. There are no buildings that currently fit the desired size/zoning/location requirements to achieve upcoming growth in Montrose.
Gibson said the Colorado Yurt Company envisions a destination site that will represent the future for Colorado Yurt Company and Montrose. In addition to a manufacturing facility, the project includes an outdoor display village nestled into the existing trees along the Uncompahgre River. The display village will combine a walk-by experience for visitors along the trail with a “try before you buy” overnight rental experience for potential customers. The village will be a destination, with guides available on the weekend to give tours and engage guests. The Gibsons envision a place where employees will be proud to work, where innovation happens, where the best of Montrose is showcased, and where visitors and the community are welcome.
About the Montrose Urban Renewal Authority:
The Montrose Urban Renewal Authority (MURA) was formed in late 2016 by a resolution of the Montrose City Council. MURA encompasses approximately 160 acres along the Uncompahgre River northwest of downtown Montrose. More information can be found at www.cityofmontrose.org/651/Montrose-Urban-Renewal-Authority
About the Colorado Yurt Company:
The Colorado Yurt Company began in 1976 when then owners Dan and Emma Kigar made their first tipi and called it home in the high country of Colorado. Since then the company has grown to ship products around the world, at the same time becoming an industry leader in environmental stewardship. John and Kelly Gibson purchased the company in January of 2020 and now steward the Kigar’s legacy. Find out more at www.coloradoyurt.com
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