Redevelopment envisioned for prime site in Basalt

Apartments, small grocery store included in application for former Clark’s Market site

A key building in the heart of downtown Basalt is finally targeted for redevelopment.

A development firm headed by Tim Belinski and Andrew Light has an option to buy the former Clark’s Market and Habitat for Humanity Restore building and a smaller, adjacent structure that houses an interior design business. The main building also was home to City Market into the 1990s.

Belinski said they have submitted a land use application to the town of Basalt that proposes 70 rental apartments and about 9,000 square feet of commercial space.

The building is one of the most visible locations in Basalt, just off the corner of Two Rivers Road and Midland Avenue. It serves as an entrance to downtown. The site has sat “dormant and ignored” for too long, Belinski said.

“It’s time for it to come to life,” he said this week. “It’s time to give it a shot in the arm and some vitality.”

The 70 apartments would be mostly one bedroom and two bedrooms, according to Belinski. There will be 11 deed-restricted affordable housing units within the 70 apartments. It would increase the vitality of downtown Basalt by providing housing for year-round residents, he said.

The developers aim to have a small grocery store within the mix of the commercial space. Belinski said it would highlight grab-and-go meals and coffee as well as groceries.

The southwest corner of the site, which is closest to the intersection of Two Rivers Road and Midland Avenue, would feature a large patio at the entrance to the grocery store. It would be an inviting place for people to sit.

“Today it’s just an overabundance of asphalt,” Belinski said. “We’ve been thinking about it like Basalt’s version of the Paradise Bakery corner (in Aspen).”

The developers also are talking to Jimbo’s Liquors about relocating in the new building. Jimbo’s is a fixture on the western side of the existing building.

The Basalt planning staff is reviewing the application for completeness. Once it is deemed complete, it will be released to the public, according to town manager Ryan Mahoney.

The formal review process also will start once it is deemed complete. The application will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and Basalt Town Council for each of the two steps.

Basalt Mayor Bill Kane acknowledged the application during brief comments at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday night. He called the application an “enormous breakthrough.”

“That building has sat vacant for way too long and is kind of a missing hole in the heart of our downtown community so that’s welcomed news,” Kane said.

He noted that council members could not take a position on the application at this point because it must be reviewed through the standard land use review process.

Basalt’s 2020 land use master plan identified the former Clark’s site as a “primary parcel” for redevelopment.

“Public comment voiced strong support for the redevelopment of this site, with the understanding that its location and size could allow for a project that could be transformative to Old Town’s economic and cultural vibrancy,” the master plan said.

It later went on to say the site “perhaps offers the most viable site to demonstrate smart growth principles of ‘density instead of sprawl’ as voiced by the public.”

Adding a small grocery store was preferred by 24% of respondents in one public survey connected to the master plan process.

Belinski said he believes the application complies with the master plan. “And it’s a good fit,” he said.

The redevelopment would be contained in one building. It would be “stilted” and have parking space on grade, according to Belinski.

The development team hopes to have approvals in place soon enough to break ground next spring. The building would take one year to construct, so it could open by summer 2023.

Light and Belinski also are the developers breaking ground on the Basalt River Park property just west of downtown. That site, the former Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park, will have a mixture of residential and commercial uses.