Downtown Basalt could see significant redevelopment
Basalt has the potential to see a major redevelopment that would include more than 6 acres of land in or adjacent to the downtown core, according to Town Manager Mike Scanlon.
The chips have to fall just right, Scanlon acknowledged, but it’s feasible that a developer could acquire the Clark’s Market building, the Phillips 66 gas station, Lions Park, where Town Hall is located, and the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park. That would give a developer enough land for a mega-project that would define Basalt for years to come, he said.
Scanlon is the town’s point man on accommodating the redevelopment of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park. The town spent $1.2 million last year to team with the nonprofit Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. to buy the 38-unit mobile-home park. Scanlon is working on a plan to relocate the residents and undertake a public-works projects to ease the flooding risk of the Roaring Fork River.
Once the public improvements are made and the residents are relocated, the site is expected to be ripe for a private investor to acquire and develop. A hotel has been mentioned as a possibility.
While working on the project, Scanlon realized the potential for a grander undertaking.
“I think we have the ability to do a little more,” he said.
The Phillips 66 went up for sale this summer for $1.18 million, Scanlon said. He approached Clark’s Market building owner Frank Traverna, of Carbondale, about his vision for the property and eventually learned that he would be willing to sell for the right price. The gas station and Clark’s building combined are about 2 acres.
The town government owns Lions Park, where Town Hall, the old library and the Basalt Chamber of Commerce caboose are located. That property is about 2 acres.
The portion of the Pan and Fork that can be developed is about 2 acres.
The town government’s role in the project would be making sure developers realize that the opportunity exists and that the town is willing to work with them on a cohesive project, Scanlon said.
The advantage of having that much land under the control of one development team is coordination, Scanlon said. A hotel might make more sense elsewhere in the 6 acres rather than on the Pan and Fork property, for example. A parking structure also could be integrated into a broader plan, according to Scanlon.
Greater development potential toward the core of downtown also potentially could allow a developer to leave more of the Pan and Fork site open for a riverside park, Scanlon said.
He expects word of the possible broader project to be met with mixed emotions. Some members of Basalt business community want the Pan and Fork redevelopment to progress as quickly as possible. They see it as the economic salvation for a downtown that is struggling to recover from the recession. They might not welcome any expanded project that threatens to slow progress at the Pan and Fork.
Scanlon suspects that other observers will be more patient if it means “getting it right” with a broader project. He estimated that the grander development would take less than a year longer to complete than just the Pan and Fork redevelopment.
Now he just needs to find a developer willing to try to pull it off.
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