If you drive by the old Far East building at 15th and North Avenue in Grand Junction, you'll see a "For Sale" sign in the parking lot. That sign says "Under Contract." Is someone finally purchasing this commercial property?

Not so fast. It would be inaccurate to say the "building" is under contract. Yes, a transaction is underway, and a new commercial development has been proposed, but it isn't necessarily what you think.

The Far East at 1530 North Avenue has been vacant for years now. The last handful of times I visited this restaurant was to hear Dennis and Michelle Woodrich performing Jazz on the upper floor. Sometimes you could go there to hear the duo of Tyme and Kathryn Mientka performing. For a while, one could visit the Laff Comedy Club in the addition to the north of the main building.

Google Maps

I contacted the Mesa County Planning Commission earlier today. Upon seeing the sign in the parking lot, it was my assumption someone had put a contract on the building. As it turns out, the sale involves only the parking lot area running along 15th Street from North Avenue to Glenwood. The building itself is not included in the transaction.

I have a bit of personal interest when it comes to the businesses on this corner. For some insane reason, I decided years ago to invest in rental properties all along 15th Street. Why? It seems the Jordan family has a long history of mental illness. In any event, I own property only a few feet down the road from the Far East. My retirement plans are affected by what happens to the property values in and around this area.

In addition to my future plans, the Far East represents a big part of my past. I can remember going to this restaurant in the mid-1970s with the crew from McFarland Construction. That construction company built some of the apartment buildings in the area. My dad worked for them for a number of years. We'd all go to the Far East for lunch, usually sitting in the area which would ultimately become the Laff Comedy Club.

Don't laugh, but I took my prom date to the Far East back in 1988. Yes, I know, I'm tacky. Hey, back in its heyday, the Far East was pretty classy. Rumors spread all over the valley that the wallpaper in the place cost $500 a roll. I haven't a clue if this is true or not, but it fueled a ton of gossip over the years.

So, who's purchasing the property? The Mesa County Planning Commission couldn't say. The only information they could contribute was the transaction is part of a "proposed commercial development." That could mean just about anything. Two blocks down the road a massive amount of property (in my opinion) will be home to a new Starbucks. That seems like a ton of money and a large amount of acreage for a coffee shop. Oh, well. Not my concern.

I'm glad to see something is happening with the property on the corner of 15th and North. It will interesting to see what develops. Now if someone would buy the Far East itself and turn it into something awesome.