Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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October 10, 2012
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Developer outlines plan for 4-star Basalt hotel

The Basalt Town Council got its first look Tuesday night at the 120-room hotel and associated development that will potentially replace the 38-unit Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park near the town center.

Richard Myers, the managing partner of Realty Capital Management, outlined his firm's plan to work with partners to build the hotel along with 15,000 square feet of shops and restaurants and about 20 residential units. The company has a contract to buy 2 acres at the Pan and Fork site from Roaring Fork Community Development Corp., the nonprofit owner of the trailer park. The purchase is contingent on Basalt issuing the land-use approvals.

Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. would retain 0.3 acres and develop a nonprofit campus. Two nonprofit organizations are looking at headquarters to the west of the Pan and Fork as separate projects. The Rocky Mountain Institute has a contract to buy property from the town government for an office. The Roaring Fork Conservancy has property and approvals for an educational river center.

Myers said his firm will hold meetings with the public in the near future and start a blog where people can offer comments, positive or negative.

"We're very open to suggestions from the public and obviously the town," Myers said.

The focal point of the project is the four-story hotel, which is envisioned on the western end of the property, closest to where the Taqueria el Nopal restaurant is located. Myers said his firm would partner with Presidio Cos., a Napa Valley, Calif., hotel developer and manager in the project. He also displayed a letter from the development director of the Hyatt corporation, who expressed clear interest in the Basalt project.

The hotel would offer accommodations that don't exist in the midvalley.

"It's sort of their upscale, limited service," Myers said. "It's not five star. I think they'd say it's 31⁄2 to four star."

His firm is also looking at a mixed-use building at the intersection of Two Rivers Road and Midland Avenue. Two or three restaurants and three to four shops would be on the ground floor, Myers said in a previous interview. The upper floors would be "class-A luxury rental" housing, he said Tuesday. The housing would be priced for professionals, white-collar, office-worker types, according to Myers.

A parking garage would be built beneath the entire project. Myers said there will likely be valet parking.

The meeting was pegged as informational only, with no formal review by the Town Council. Roughly 25 members of the public attended the meeting. Only a handful offered comments. Steve Chase said the "gorilla in the room" is the shortage of parking. The plan will provide parking necessary for the hotel guests and customers of the commercial development, he noted. But the development of the project will create a shortage of parking for existing businesses and service workers both at the Pan and Fork and downtown.

"Where are the employees supposed to park?" Chase asked.

The two council members who offered the most comments were Glenn Rappaport and Karin Teague, who previously disqualified themselves from discussions of the Pan and Fork redevelopment because they declared a conflict of interest.

Rappaport, an architect, did land-use-planning consulting early in the process for Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. Teague's husband, architect Harry Teague, also consulted for the nonprofit. Both council members have recused themselves from a handful of previous meetings. Rappaport, who failed in an election bid for mayor in April, said during the campaign that he was recusing himself from participating in the discussion on the Pan and Fork project as standard procedure in a conflict-of-interest issue. However, he offered comments during the information session Tuesday.

When asked after the meeting if he decided to participate in the review of the project, Rappaport said he didn't know yet.

Teague also offered comments Tuesday. She said she didn't feel she had to leave Tuesday's meeting because it was information only. She said she is assessing whether to participate in the review of the project. If she decides she doesn't have a conflict, she said she will read a statement about her position at a future meeting.

The review of the project will be ongoing throughout the winter and into 2013.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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The Post Independent Updated Oct 10, 2012 01:18AM Published Oct 10, 2012 01:17AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.