Home Depot still on hold | AspenTimes.com

Home Depot still on hold

CARBONDALE Home Depot representatives will not be on hand when the Carbondale board of trustees meets tonight. The eagerly anticipated meeting with the nation’s largest home improvement retailer has been postponed to Feb. 27.The trustees, along with Crystal River Market Place developer Rich Schierburg, have been trying to put together a meeting with Home Depot representatives since late last year.Schierburg and his development company, Peregrine Group Development LLC, is poised to take over the project, and he has spoken of Home Depot as a possible anchor tenant for the shopping center. Home Depot officials confirmed last fall that they are “interested” in possibly building a store in Carbondale.The center, as now proposed, would be situated on roughly 24 acres along Highway 133 that formerly were part of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School site.The meeting with Home Depot initially was scheduled for mid-January, but was postponed until today for unknown reasons, according to town officials. But Schierburg again contacted town officials and asked for another delay, reportedly because Home Depot representatives could not attend.The Feb. 27 discussion is to be the regular meeting of the board of trustees, though the Marketplace and Home Depot will be the only items on the agenda. It is to start at 6:30 p.m., and Town Clerk Cathy Derby said discussion will be allowed to go until 10:30 if warranted.While it is not being noticed as a formal public hearing, Derby said it will be an “open forum,” with both sides of the council chambers open. A divider normally chops the space in half to allow for another meeting in the northern section if desired.The development proposal is the latest incarnation of a mall development idea that began in 1999 when California developer Brian Huster bought 22 acres from Colorado Rocky Mountain School. The town government rejected Huster’s first plans to build a shopping mall at the site. After a contentious 2003 election, voters turned back a subsequent plan centered around Huster’s hopes to bring a big-box retailer to town; that plan had won government approval.Schierburg, who has overseen development projects in other parts of Colorado, is poised to buy the site from Huster if the town approves Schierburg’s development plans. Schierburg took part in a year-long planning process that involved a number of citizens and town officials, known as the Economic Road Map Group, which yielded a preference that no store in the Marketplace be larger than 60,000 square feet. But the group’s recommendations did not call for a town ordinance that specifically outlines such a cap on building sizes.Town officials recently indicated that they might be willing to consider inclusion of a big-box store, in the wake of Schierburg’s contention that he has surveyed potential “junior anchor” chain stores but found none interested in locating in Carbondale.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com

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