Kroger wants to build a gas station, reconfigure parking lot at El Jebel City Market | AspenTimes.com

Kroger wants to build a gas station, reconfigure parking lot at El Jebel City Market

Kroger has applied to the town of Basalt to build a gas station where this gravel parking lot is currently located on the Aspen-side of the Orchard Plaza complex.

The Kroger Co. has applied to build a gas station near its El Jebel City Market, which is engaged in fierce competition with nearby Whole Foods Market for the hearts and bellies of shoppers.

Kroger wants to build the Orchard Plaza Gas Station in what is now a gravel parking lot adjacent to the grocery store's main paved lot. The fueling station would be easterly, or to the Aspen side, of the commercial building that houses the Nail Spa, R.J. Paddywacks, New York Pizza and other restaurants and retail stores.

The gas station would have six islands of pumps and a 208-square-foot kiosk. A 4,080-square-foot canopy over the complex would bear the City Market sign.

Kroger submitted its application to the town of Basalt on Nov. 30. It is still in the technical review stage and hasn't been scheduled for a hearing before the Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission, according to Assistant Planning Director James Lindt.

Basalt approved an application in 2010 to build 36 additional paved parking spaces at the site for Orchard Plaza, but the idea was never pursued. Instead, the dirt lot was covered with gravel in more recent years and is used as makeshift parking for shoppers.

The application said Kroger wants to build the gas station, add some parking, reconfigure its main parking lot and enhance pedestrian circulation around the shopping center.

"The subject site was selected for these improvements as it is under the same ownership as the grocery store and the fuel station is considered an ancillary business operation to the grocery store," the application said.

If the project is approved, City Market wants to break ground this spring and complete the fueling station over the summer.

A Kroger official listed as the project representative in the application didn't return a telephone call from The Aspen Times seeking additional comments on the proposal.

The El Jebel City Market opened in 1995 and quickly established itself as the flagship store of the City Market brand, a company official said last year. About 10,000 square feet was added to the 53,000-square-foot original store in 2005.

Whole Foods opened less than 1 mile away in Willits Town Center in August 2012. The stores combined for about $70 million in sales in 2015, according to Basalt sales tax data.

The application said the additional traffic generated by the gas station will be "negligible" and can be accommodated by the existing road network.

Mid-power, high-brightness, high-efficiency LED chips are proposed for the lighting on the canopy. The application didn't indicate if videos would be automatically played at the pumps, as they are at the Valero Station in Basalt.

The gas station site is across a service road and an open space corridor from the backyards of some homes in the Sopris Village subdivision.

Kroger is seeking a waiver from affordable-housing mitigation because only one worker will be required at a time in the kiosk.

"The proposed development will not generate any new employees as the new kiosk building associated with the fuel facility will be staffed by existing employees of the grocery store," the application said. "In addition, the employees required for the construction of the site improvements will be drawn from local labor pools as the construction schedule is brief and during the summer months."

scondon@aspentimes.com