Final review has started on a project that could add workforce housing within 14 months and a grocery store within 24 months of groundbreaking at one of the most visible sites in Basalt.
The Basalt Center Circle project will head back to review by the planning and zoning commission June 7. The development team headed by Tim Belinski and Andrew Light is seeking approval for a 43,000-square-foot building that would feature a 9,000-square-foot grocery store, liquor store and food hall on the ground floor and 67 residential units on the upper two floors.
The project is located at the gateway to downtown Basalt in a partially vacant building formerly occupied by Clark’s Market and, later, Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.
“The Basalt Center Circle parcel is a central component to the entrance of Old Town Basalt,” the application said. “The once bustling and lively building has fallen into vacancy and disrepair over the last decade. It is vital to the Basalt community that this parcel get the revitalization it deserves.”
During the first round of review, the developers increased the amount of rent-capped housing to 25% of the total units, or 17 of 67. The town code only requires 15% of the units to be deed-restricted as affordable housing.
The price-capped units will be classified as category one, which means the units will be rented to households making from 60% to 80% of the Area Median Income, and category three, targeting households making from 101% to 120% of AMI. They will include 12 studio units, four one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom unit, according to the application.
The priorities for the deed-restricted units will be given to workers employed within the development, employees of the Roaring Fork School District and emergency responders, the application said.
Belinski and Light are touting the free-market apartments as workforce housing as well. Although the rents haven’t been disclosed, they will take steps to prevent the units from becoming overnight tourist accommodations. The minimum lease term on all units will be six months. In addition, 40 total units, including the 17 with price caps, must be occupied by local residents as their primary residence.
The front of the grocery store is being designed as an inviting community gathering space that includes tables and chairs, lights, bike parking, landscaping and pedestrian connectivity to other places downtown.
The grocery store would be combined with a liquor store and places where customers could buy prepared foods. Light said they envision the commercial space to be a European-style food space where people can buy food, groceries and drinks while also socializing and gathering in an indoor-outdoor setting.
“As we know, the valley is increasingly starving for fun/approachable places to connect and we want this to be that for Basalt,” Light said in an email.
The existing building, also home to Jimbo’s Liquors and the BLT restaurant, will be torn down. A new building would be constructed in one phase. It would take an estimated 14 months from groundbreaking to completion, resurfacing of the existing parking lot, landscaping and public improvements along Two River Road.
The operator of the grocery store would need about another nine months to finish out the space, equip and stock the site and train staff, the application said. That would lead to a grand opening of the grocer within two years of groundbreaking.
The Basalt Town Council voted 6-0 to approve the project at the sketch plan on first round of approval. The project is subject to only a two-step review process rather than the usual three because it is in a special zone district. The site was identified in the town’s 2020 master plan as appropriate and desirable for a mixed commercial and residential project.
The planning commission took an introductory look at the project in May. The board will resume review June 7. At some point, it will make a recommendation for the council.
By: Scott Condon I The Aspen Times I June 1, 2022