Luxury hotel coming in Basalt |

Luxury hotel coming in Basalt

BASALT Basalt’s robust business climate got an additional boost this week when a Chicago development firm broke ground on what will be the town’s first luxury tourist accommodation.Meghan Development started foundation work on the River Mountain Lodge, located just upvalley from Stubbies bar on the Highway 82 Basalt Bypass. The firm will build and sell 54 condominium units of varying sizes but operate them as a hotel, according to James Richmond, owner representative and president of Meghan Development, which will build the lodge.The lodge will be a full-service property that provides “hot beds” to the community, Richmond said. The condominium owners will be limited from using the units for more than 30 consecutive days to comply with Basalt regulations.The Town Council enthusiastically approved the project in January 2006 to add to the town’s tiny bed base. Officials said more rooms were needed to provide shoppers for stores and diners for restaurants.The 54 condo-hotel units will be constructed in one building. It will include two affordable housing units.The project has been a long time coming. “We’ve had the property since the early ’90s,” Richmond said.They initially had approval for a larger hotel but didn’t start construction before Basalt rewrote rules for developing in the flood plain in the late 1990s. New regulations restricted the building envelope on the property next to the Roaring Fork River, so the owners altered their development plan.Ownership of the property was transferred from Snowflake of Basalt LLC to River Mountain Lodge Inc. for $2.3 million, according to a special warranty deed filed with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder. Richmond said that was a housekeeping issue with the ownership firm.The lodge will be four stories high and 48,000 square feet. It will include a meeting room that can be rented by outside groups for activities. Richmond said the condo-hotel won’t be operated or affiliated with any national chain.Richmond anticipated construction will take 14 to 16 months, depending on how much is accomplished by next winter. For now, crews will concentrate on erecting the back wall of the lodge before high water arrives in May or June.Richmond’s family owned the Snowflake Lodge in Aspen for 25 years, so it is experienced in the hospitality industry in the Roaring Fork Valley. They sold the Snowflake to Dale Paas and it became part of the Limelite redevelopment project.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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