Basalt hires developer’s architect to work on plan |

Basalt hires developer’s architect to work on plan

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

An architectural firm that was working for a developer on a proposal for the former Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park site is now helping the Basalt town government sort through what could be acceptable to the community.

Cottle Carr Yaw Architects is working on a plan for the site with the assumption that the available land and available square footage for development is about half of what it was prior to a big community debate during the winter and spring.

Lowe Enterprises, a development firm with a branch in Aspen, proposed a 60-room hotel, 52 condominiums and a small amount of restaurants and retail space on the portion of the property closest to Two Rivers Road. The proposal was widely opposed by town residents so Lowe put its plan on hold.

John Cottle, a partner in the architectural firm, said Lowe’s development was about 150,000 square feet. His firm was hired by the town government to rework the proposal based on community input. The town is footing the bill. Lowe said it would be interested in considering moving ahead with development if the town came up with a proposal the community would accept.

To make the arrangement even more unusual, the property where the development is being considered is privately owned. The nonprofit Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. had a contract to sell it to Lowe, with conditions. The organization wants the town to buy the property but town officials haven’t publicly indicated they will move in that direction.

Cottle’s firm outlined a handful of development scenarios for the Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday night. The members of the advisory board preferred one with 75,000 square feet of development divided into two buildings. In general terms, the proposal would include a hotel with 47 rooms of about 350 square feet each as well as 30 residences at about 1,200 square feet. The hotel would include a restaurant and bar.

The proposal would be roughly 40 percent hotel and associated uses and 60 percent residential. It also would have underground parking.

By cutting the development in half, it would preserve more of the site along Two Rivers Road for an entrance to a park on the half of the property along the Roaring Fork River. The town government owns the property along the river and is in the process of establishing a park.

Cottle said the downsized development proposal would only work if someone other than a developer comes up with the funds to pay for the portion of Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. land that isn’t developed. Reducing the development by 50 percent requires reducing the purchase price of the property for any developer to make it work, Cottle said.

The town wants to look at the development potential for other property it owns close to the Pan and Fork site as a way to make a broader project feasible. Cottle’s firm also was hired to look at scenarios for Lions Park and the former recycling center.

The planning commission will forward recommendations to the Town Council later this summer.