LEtter: Take more time for Basalt proposal
This letter is in response to the current Lowe Enterprises development proposal for Basalt’s River Park. Since the proposal has about double the development on site for what should be required to make the property work from an economic perspective for the developer, Basalt residents should insist that more park area be incorporated into the plan. Lowe has an option for the site to acquire the property for approximately $2.5 million. The development allowed on the site need only be enough to make the purchase of the land a workable deal for the developer.
If the development was reduced by about 50 percent in size, moved down river closest to the Rocky Mountain Institute and Roaring Fork Conservancy buildings, the town would get its open space park and those thinking the town needs an economic boost and more development spurred vitality get what they want.
The townhome portion is about 50 percent of the proposal. Building just this portion of the proposal would allow the nonprofit to be paid back its $2.5 million. The numbers: $2.5 million divided by 40 units equals $62,500 land cost per unit. $2.5 million divided by 64,500 square feet of building equals $38.75 per square foot of building-development entitlement rights. Sale prices in the Wilds Townhome Development, for raw land, recently yielded per square foot of building entitlements of $37, $37 and $48. (mls numbers 117063,117065 and 117064) The river site as currently proposed by Lowe is a very viable standalone project easily supporting a land cost of $2.5 million.
Any development, whether it be hotel or townhomes, could be limited to the area that Lowe’s now proposes as townhomes. The result would be a true park feeling for the remaining area, rather than it feeling subordinate to a hotel or townhome development.
The residents of Basalt can get exactly what they want and should realize this rather than be pushed into settling for a plan that falls short on the open space side of the plan. The developer’s plan is first and foremost a plan from the developer’s perspective with a nod toward what the public wants. The great town of Basalt deserves a great proposal for this quasi-public heart of Basalt park area. After 15 years and 90 percent of the process completed, it makes sense to take a few more months to get the concept exactly where it should be to accommodate all those great park ideas that the current proposal leaves no room for.
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