New plan eliminates El Jebel gas station, car wash
EL JEBEL The old Sinclair gas station and car wash in El Jebel will be converted into residences and businesses to appeal to the bustling neighborhood, a land-use planner working on the project said Monday.The new owners are fine-tuning a proposal to construct one building of roughly 72,250 square feet on the 2.25-acre site, according to Michelle Thibeault, senior planner for Stan Clauson Associates LLC. She stressed that a proposal submitted to Eagle County will be altered, so the final square footage may change.As the plan stands now, about 22,250 square feet of retail shops and restaurant space will be proposed on the ground floor, and about 50,000 square feet of free-market and deed-restricted residences would be added on two upper levels, Thibeault said.Judy Fitzsimmons sold the property between Crown Mountain Park and Highway 82, across the road from Wendy’s and El Jebowl to the owners of Coleman Brothers Construction of Carbondale in January.The gas station and car wash were closed shortly before the sale was complete, and a chain link fence blocked most of the site. That made commuters and area residents curious about the fate of the highly visible property.The Fitzsimmons Motor Co. operated at the site for 33 years. At one time, there was also a mechanic’s shop, but it closed and its space housed everything from a car dealership to a granite and marble counter business. Apartments are above the old gas station, but it appears the residents there are in the process of moving.Thibeault said Dan Coleman, a principal in Coleman Brothers Construction, was impressed with the property’s development potential. It is a gateway to the upper Roaring Fork Valley, she said, and it provides tremendous views across the adjacent open space and into the surrounding mountains.Crown Mountain Park, south of the site, is preparing for a grand opening this spring. It is already attracting steady use from midvalley residents aware of its ball and soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, dog park and trails.Thibeault said Coleman wants to provide space for businesses that will cater to park visitors as well as the high-density residential neighborhoods just downvalley from the site. Uses could include a coffee shop, a restaurant, small retail spaces and possibly some offices, she said.The gas station and car wash will not be resurrected.”The goal is to make it a more pedestrian-oriented development,” Thibeault said.Coleman is a veteran developer and builder in the area. He recently developed a commercial project in Carbondale and builds single-family homes in Aspen.As currently proposed, the El Jebel project would include six deed-restricted units and 24 free-market units comprising 50,000 square feet in the upper floors of the building. The mix of units will be changed to increase the amount of affordable housing and possibly decrease the overall residential square footage, she said.Eagle County planner Jena Skinner-Markowitz is heading the review of the project. She said no staff memo has been prepared yet because the developers need a chance to make refinements. Once the application is deemed complete, the first of three levels of review will begin with public meetings held by the Roaring Fork Regional Planning Commission.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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