Fourth Street Plaza comes to New Castle
Western Garfield County Staff
NEW CASTLE ” What has sat for years and years as an empty lot on Main Street next to the Canyon Club bar is now slated for a two-story commercial and residential building.
Michael Watts, building official for the town of New Castle, purchased the three empty lots, which have been used by the town for public parking for as long as anyone can remember.
Watts purchased two of the lots a couple of years ago and sealed the deal on the third lot last month. Both he and his wife, Charly, envisioned a commercial building on the property that would blend in with the historic downtown.
“I see New Castle as being like Basalt, Carbondale or Steamboat Springs,” said Watts, who was raised in Fort Collins. “I’ve been involved in New Castle and I think I caught the bug from (town administrator) Steve Rippy. I bought into it ” literally and figuratively,” Watts said with a laugh.
Currently a resident of Silt Mesa, Watts has headed up the New Castle building department for the past 12 years and prior to that, worked for Garfield County for six years.
Plans for the Fourth Street Plaza call for a two-story building with lots of windows, brick accents and stucco on the second floor, with a beveled corner entrance and another entrance directly across from the public library. The 4,000-square-foot building will have office, commercial and retail spaces downstairs with four studio loft units on the second floor. The architectural design was created by Watts, who wanted to keep it in line with the town’s historical guidelines of buildings from the 1920s and ’30s.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Thursday, Sept. 29, with local town officials and business owners in attendance.
Excavation for the foundation was done last weekend, which resulted in a few surprises.
“Apparently, it’s the site of an old pharmacy from years ago,” Watts said. “And as they dug, they found all kinds of things buried in the ground.”
Items included old bottles, pharmaceutical supplies, coins dating back to pre-1900s and old porcelain marbles.
With the final plans approved by the town, Watts put the project out to bid last month.
“We hope to complete it within six months, but that will depend on a lot of things,” he said.
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