Basalt gallery pounces on prime downtown spot |

Basalt gallery pounces on prime downtown spot

BASALT ” One of Basalt’s prime commercial spaces sat vacant for less than a month, despite the sour economy.

The space formerly occupied by Town Center Booksellers was leased last week to the Basalt Gallery, an art gallery with a long history in town, according to Ted Borchelt and Jana Dillard, the real estate agents who teamed on the deal.

The popular bookstore closed in late March because of slow business and broader difficulties facing small, independent booksellers. The bookstore helped anchor Midland Avenue, Basalt’s main street, for 4 1/2 years. Town Center owners Louise and Clay Bennett also own the building, informally known as the Clock Tower Building.

The closing coincided with a search by Basalt Gallery owner Ann Korologos for a larger space, according to Jay Magidson, gallery director. The old bookstore is a little more than twice the size as the gallery’s current space in Ute Center along Two River Road. The new space is about 2,240 square feet.

Borchelt represented the space’s owners and Dillard represented the gallery. Both real estate agents are with Chaffin Light Real Estate. Terms of the lease weren’t disclosed.

Borchelt said the short period it took to lease the space reflects the attractiveness of the spot rather than an improving economy. “I think it’s one of the focal points of downtown Basalt,” he said. Basalt currently has several vacancies in the commercial core.

Magidson said the new space has everything a gallery needs ” a prime location and lots of wall space to hang exhibits. “It’s the best building in town. It’s a beautiful location,” he said.

The bookstore was a wonderful part of Basalt and it will be missed, he said. The gallery, which will reopen as the Ann Korologos Gallery, will try to build on the bookstore’s tradition of hosting community events.

The move for the gallery was made possible, in part, because commercial rents are coming down, creating opportunities for small business entrepreneurs. “That’s one positive result of a bad economy,” said Magidson, a longtime former gallery owner in Aspen.

The Ann Korologos Gallery plans to open in the new space by June 1.

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