Carbondale won’t get a new City Market till at least 2019

Ryan Summerlin
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

City Market has requested a seventh extension for its proposed new grocery store in Carbondale. And the town has gotten word that Kroger, City Market’s parent, plans to draw the construction project out into 2019.

Though numerous delays have created uncertainty surrounding the project, Mayor Dan Richardson said he’s encouraged that the town is getting better information than in the past from the company about its plans.

Tentative plans are for the site work — the buried infrastructure, water lines, ditch work and all the civil construction — to begin in the fall of 2018, and construction of the building would begin in spring 2019. Spreading the work over that time frame, while considerably longer than the Town Council had originally envisioned, would help spread the cost over two fiscal years, which is apparently important to Kroger, the mayor said.

Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, has struggled with food price deflation the past couple years and cut back on capital projects.

While this is definitely a longer wait for a new store than the town had contemplated, Richardson said, “I’m encouraged that they’re still very interested in investing in Carbondale, and a delayed plan is better than no plan.”

The town doesn’t own the land and can’t control private businesses or dictate when they act, he added.

The town approved this project a year and a half ago and has since been waiting on the company to close on the property.

For now, the company is asking for a 150-day extension to Feb. 28. “As noted in the previous extension request, the unforeseen capital reallocation by The Kroger Co. remains impactful on the timing of the closing on the subject property,” wrote Drew Warot, division real estate assistant manager for King Soopers/City Market. “The fiscal calendar year for Kroger ends and begins on Feb. 1, 2018. Approving an extension until Feb. 28, 2018, allows for Kroger to draw upon funds allocated within their 2018 fiscal year to close on the property and record the Final Subdivision Plat.”

When requesting a previous extension in June, Joel Starbuck, former division real estate manager for King Soopers/City Market, cautioned trustees that he couldn’t guarantee that 90-day extension would be the last. That delay was simply an arbitrary extension to give the company and developer some breathing room, he said.

The City Market proposal has hit different types of snags since its March 2016 approval. Early delays were caused by bids coming in far over what had been projected, Starbuck told trustees in June. Later, Kroger corporate itself was holding up the project as the company was rebudgeting. And when Amazon announced it was buying Whole Foods for more than $13 billion, Kroger’s corporate office again pulled back on purchasing the property for the new Carbondale City Market as it was adjusting to impact on the market.

Trustees are expected to consider this extension request during their Sept. 26 meeting.