Joe Jehn long ago committed to Arvada. He’s proud of that decision, and he wants the community to understand how important partnering with the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) was to his business and this decision.
“The 30-year history of my involvement with Olde Town would not have been possible without my relationship with Arvada Urban Renewal,” says Joe, who has owned and developed more than a half-dozen different buildings in Arvada, along with founding and operating JeHN Engineering.
“People look at me as a catalyst for what has happened here in Olde Town and with urban renewal.”
Joe’s journey to Olde Town didn’t start with his current building on Webster Street. His engineering firm first moved into Arvada in 1986 when he leased the Empire Savings Building at 57th and Yukon Street. In 1994, JeHN Engineering constructed a building at Cornerstone, which is now the office for the Community First Foundation. Through that time, in the late-80s and early-90s, Joe was chair of the Business Improvement District and became even more committed to the redevelopment of Olde Town.
In the late 1990s, Joe purchased another building in Olde Town, and that’s where his partnership with AURA began. He applied for and received a façade grant as part of the building’s renovation. That building has been used by several different businesses over the years and is now home to a large real estate firm.
Joe then purchased and rehabilitated the Wiebelt Building using a grant from AURA since the previous owner was upside-down on the property. That building was completed in 1999, and its original tenant, Into the Fire, has been at that location ever since. The building also features condominiums and retail businesses.
As Arvada grew, so did JeHN Engineering—and it was again time in 2006 to expand the firm’s space. That’s when JeHN Engineering partnered with AURA on the JeHN Center. AURA was instrumental, Joe says, in making the land at the corner of 57th and Webster available for development by cleaning up the environmental contamination of the former gas station site. With a clean bill of health in hand, thanks to AURA, JeHN Engineering moved ahead with construction of its current office building.
Now, the 24,000-square-foot JeHN Center hosts more than a dozen small, local companies—including architects, engineering firms, property managers, mortgage companies—all creating jobs and economic investment in Arvada.
The building’s tenants, Joe says, contribute directly to the vibrancy of Olde Town. Many employees live in the nearby apartments, also developed through AURA, and walk over to work in the morning.
“It’s been a long, synergistic relationship with urban renewal,” Joe concludes. “I had opportunities to buy other buildings for far less in neighboring cities, but the partnership with urban renewal here in Arvada has allowed me to grow with and help shape our community.”