One of the most visible businesses in Basalt was closed and sat mostly empty Thursday after it was acquired by a bank in a foreclosure sale the previous day.
The Phillips 66 gas station at the entrance to downtown on Midland Avenue had a hand-drawn sign posted in the front door that said, “Sorry Station has closed until further notice.” Closed signs were also posted on the gas pumps.
First Colorado National Bank of Paonia acquired the gas station with a bid of $700,000 in the foreclosure sale, according to the website for the Eagle County public trustee. The bank held the loan on the gas station and filed a foreclosure action in April after it said RBG Partners LLC defaulted on repayment.
The foreclosure filing said RBG Partners borrowed $967,000 in May 2008. The loan had an adjustable rate that was at 6.5 percent when the foreclosure was pursued. The total indebtedness on the property was $943,227.28 at the time of Wednesday’s sale, according to the public trustee’s website. A deficiency of $243,227.28 remained after the bank’s bid.
RBG Partners Inc. was created in 2005 and is in good standing with the state government, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website. Bruce Ross of Basalt is the registered agent for the firm.
A representative of the bank visited Town Hall this week and transferred the water service account from the prior owners to the bank.
The interior of the gas station and convenience store was partially cleared out by Thursday, but potato chips remained on shelves and the coolers were stocked with sodas and other beverages. A small Mexican restaurant called Dam Good Tacos that shared the gas station space closed last week.
Charles Stewart, a Paonia attorney who represented the bank in the foreclosure, said his client will soon list the property for sale.
“Their intent is to liquidate the property as soon as possible,” he said. He referred questions to bank officials about whether the gas station will reopen for operations while a buyer is sought. Bank executives either didn’t return messages or couldn’t be reached for comment by The Aspen Times Thursday.
A gas station has operated at the site since about 1967, according to Basalt old-timers. For a long time, the Phillips 66 and 7-Eleven were the only gas sellers in town. The Basalt Store and a members-only fuel station entered the scene later.
One source familiar with the gas station industry said the public perception is that businesses rake in money because of fuel prices. But the margins are so thin, he said, that gas stations face a tough time unless they sell a high volume. That’s tough in a small town with lots of competition.
The closure of the Phillips 66 is likely to rattle some downtown merchants. Many were already concerned about drawing customers to the core. However, Town Manager Mike Scanlon said the availability of the property could play into the redevelopment of a significant part of downtown. The adjacent building that currently houses Clark’s Market is also for sale, he noted. It would open options for a developer if both properties were acquired, he said in a previous interview.