Retirement community scrapped in Basalt |

Retirement community scrapped in Basalt

Aspen Valley Foundation received approval for a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Basalt but couldn't find a partner or buyer. The foundation recently lost the option to purchase land near the high school.
Courtesy image |

A nonprofit organization’s plan to build a retirement community that featured everything from independent living to end-of-life care in Basalt was formally scrapped last week.

Treasurer Tom Griffiths of the Aspen Valley Foundation board of directors told Basalt officials July 17 the organization couldn’t get an extension on an option to purchase 18 acres near the high school, according to Basalt Planning Director Susan Philp.

“Griffiths stated that this effectively put an end to their efforts to construct a continuing-care facility in the town of Basalt and asked staff not to expend any more effort on continuing their approvals,” Philp wrote in a weekly town government update for the council and community.

The foundation’s land-use approvals required it to record documents tied to the project by Monday. Those conditions couldn’t be met.

Griffiths couldn’t be reached for comment. His email to town officials said the foundation tried to renew its option, but the offer was declined.

Gaining the approvals for the Continuing Care Retirement Community was one of the foundation’s last tasks before it disintegrated. The foundation’s longtime executive director, Kris Marsh, resigned shortly after the Basalt Town Council approved the project Nov. 11, 2013.

The foundation’s board of directors said one year ago it still intended to pursue the project. It tried marketing the property and project through Colliers International, a major commercial real estate firm, but was unable to find a buyer or partner before its option to buy the property expired.

The foundation has been inactive on other fronts as well over the past 18 months. It was founded in 1973 and was once a major fundraiser and donor to small nonprofits dedicated to health and well-being.

The foundation had a contract to buy 18 acres of land east of South Side Drive, the street that leads to Basalt High School. The site, just north of the Rio Grande Trail, is known as Stott’s Mill.

A firm called MSP1 LLC has an option to purchase the property. The firm, in turn, gave a purchase option to Aspen Valley Foundation.

MSP1 had previously acquired land-use approvals for a free-market and affordable-housing project on the site. Those approvals have expired, Philp said, but initial talks have been held to see if they can be revived. (See related story on A3.)

The Aspen Valley Foundation envisioned the Continuing Care Retirement Community filling a vital need for the aging population of the valley. Different types of residences were envisioned, with each offering progressively more medial care.

The approvals were for 78 independent-living apartments and 18 independent-living cottages, 30 assisted-living units and 24 skilled-nursing units.

The project was going to be constructed in phases, as demand warranted.

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