Plans for Basalt retirement community advance | AspenTimes.com

Plans for Basalt retirement community advance

BASALT – A planned retirement community in Basalt took a small but important step toward approval on Tuesday night when the Town Council found the project’s application for annexation in compliance with regulations.

The Aspen Valley Medical Foundation wants to build a continuous-care retirement community on 18 acres directly north of Basalt High School on the south side of Highway 82. The medical foundation has the Stott’s Mill site under contract for purchase.

A general plan submitted with the annexation request estimates that the retirement center would have 144 units in the first two phases. Land will be reserved for a third phase, with demand dictating what else would be added.

The property most recently was used for a sawmill operation and for cattle grazing. During the height of the real estate boom in the mid-2000s, a development firm put the property under contract and, after years of review, earned approval in 2009 for 110 residences and a day care facility. By that time, the economy had tanked, and the developer, Brikor Associates, didn’t close on the purchase due to lack of demand. The approvals were abandoned, according to a Basalt town staff memo.

Although the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation hasn’t submitted a formal development application yet, it outlined its plan for the retirement community as part of the annexation proposal. Three different types of housing are anticipated for residents with differing needs for medical care and attention.

The first phase will feature about 50 cottages and independent-living apartments of one and two bedrooms. Another 12 independent residences will be developed for rental housing. Those units would be intended for seniors who don’t need significant medical attention on a regular basis.

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Another 24 residences in Phase 1 would be assisted-living and skilled-nursing units.

“These units provide a care environment that focuses on higher medical need, memory care, and providing assistance for daily-care needs,” the medical foundation’s annexation petition says.

The first phase also will include facilities for health care, food and beverage, administrative offices and a community gathering space.

The second phase of the project will feature an estimated 34 cottages or independent-living apartments and 24 assisted-living or skilled-nursing units.

A portion of the 18 acres will be held in reserve for a possible third phase. The medical foundation wants to remain flexible with that phase and wait to see what type of demand develops.

The medical foundation sought sites closer to Aspen but was unable to secure anything close to the necessary size. Former Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane worked with Aspen Valley Medical Foundation Executive Director Kris Marsh to find the Stott’s Mill site.

The continuous-care retirement community would be unlike any existing facility in the Roaring Fork Valley, providing differing levels of care on one campus. Demand for such facilities is expected to soar as the Roaring Fork Valley’s population ages.

The facility will create 45 to 55 full-time-equivalent positions.

No information has been released on when the facility could open. Basalt’s review of the project is expected to ramp up in November.