Plans for retirement community move forward in Basalt |

Plans for retirement community move forward in Basalt

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

BASALT – With 18 acres under contract in Basalt, the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation will make a preliminary appearance before the Basalt Town Council on Tuesday to discuss plans for a continuing-care retirement community at the site.

The foundation is in the middle of a 90-day due-diligence period in its effort to secure the Stott’s Mill property, according to Kris Marsh, foundation president and CEO. She would not disclose the price for the property, located off Southside Drive, near Basalt High School.

Planning for the long-envisioned development has barely begun, as the purchase has not been completed, though Marsh said she will have an initial site plan to show council members Tuesday.

“We really need the property before we spend money on design and architects and that sort of thing,” she said.

The foundation has a couple of questions to pose to the council, Marsh said. It wants to know how council members feel, conceptually, about the project in the proposed location, and if the council will allow the foundation to file a development application as a nonprofit, allowing an abbreviated review process.

“We want to make sure they at least recognize us as a nonprofit developer of that project,” Marsh said.

The foundation initially looked for a place in Aspen to locate the retirement community, which is to provide independent living for retirees, plus an assisted-living program for those who can live independently but need some help and a skilled-nursing facility for those who require nursing-home care.

Unsuccessful in that effort, the organization turned its sights on the midvalley and found that most of the individuals who had expressed interest in retirement living at a facility in Aspen said they’d be happy with Basalt.

The medical foundation spearheaded a study to gauge the need and interest in a continuing-care retirement community for seniors and found it exists. The envisioned project would include 75 individual residences – both apartments and cottages, plus 20 assisted-living units and a nursing home for 20 residents, allowing a continuum of care as a senior’s needs change.

“We’re actually looking at building the project possibly in two phases,” Marsh said Friday. Initially, the foundation eyed nine acres near the high school, but is now pursuing 18 acres with an eye toward future expansion, if there’s the demand, she said.

Development approvals of a different sort for the Stott’s Mill property are already in place. A partnership won town approval to build 110 residences there in January 2010 but never started construction in light of the economy.

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