City Market shares plans for new Carbondale store
Lisa Paige loves the “homey feel” of the current Carbondale City Market grocery store, but also recognizes that a larger, more modern and efficient store could make for healthier, more abundant food choices.
“Carbondale really needs a store that can bring in the kind of food to help us eat a better diet,” she said Wednesday evening during an open house at the Third Street Center sponsored by City Market and its architectural and engineering design team from Denver-based Galloway Planning.
“They’ve tried hard, but they just can’t keep enough produce on the shelf,” Paige said. “I know people are going to miss the cow pasture, but on the other hand we really deserve a new store.”
City Market is preparing to make application to the town to acquire and develop part of the 25-acre property west of Highway 133 and north of the existing leased store space.
That site, now owned by Crystal River Marketplace LLC, has been the subject of two larger, mixed-use development proposals that have been turned down by town voters over the past dozen years. Both of those proposals had included at least tentative plans for a new City Market, along with other large-scale commercial and residential uses.
Key to selling the latest plan is that City Market is taking the lead to develop only about a third of that larger site for its own purposes, including a new 58,000-square-foot City Market store and drive-through pharmacy. It may also include about 7,000 to 9,000 square feet of attached retail space to be leased out, as well as a City Market fueling station.
The gas station proposal has met with some criticism among residents, who view it as overkill in terms of developing the site and unnecessary competition for existing gas stations in town.
But Joel Starbuck, assistant director of real estate for City Market/King Soopers, said the lack of a store-based fueling station in the Roaring Fork Valley for people to redeem their fuel points earned on store purchases “is the number one issue we have with our customers.”
“Competition is good for everybody, especially the consumer,” said Starbuck, who was on hand to answer questions at the open house.
He said City Market is likely to file a formal development application with the town of Carbondale by the end of the year, which would be followed by a public review process.
“It’s still up in the air, but we are penciled for a 2017 project,” Starbuck said. “It is a work in progress, and we do have a lot of options.”
Earlier this summer, City Market convinced the town council to waive a community impact assessment requirement for the project, in an effort to expedite things.
Still, several aspects of the project would require special-use permits, as well as compliance with the town’s new commercial green building code.
As presented Wednesday, the Carbondale project would include several energy efficiency and renewable energy applications, including a roof-mounted solar electric system that would power about 30 to 40 percent of the store’s energy needs, according to project representatives.
In addition, 55 percent of the building materials used would be used, recycled, recyclable, bio-based and “indigenous,” meaning they would be sourced within a 500-mile radius.
The store would also include energy-efficient lighting and plumbing fixtures, and energy use monitoring systems, and “daylight harvesting” using skylights and other passive solar applications.
Outdoors in the parking and landscaped areas, water-efficient xeriscaping would be utilized and special “bioswales” would be used to filter storm water runoff before it goes into the sewer system.
The store itself would be located in the middle section of the larger property, with developable lots retained by Crystal River Marketplace LLC to the north and south.
The main access to the new City Market would be from a signalized intersection at Nieslanik Avenue, with a secondary “three-quarter movement” entrance near the fueling station.
From West Main Street, an extension of Hendrick Drive into the store site would allow direct access from Crystal Village and other neighborhoods west of Highway 133. An extensive network of pedestrian paths allowing foot and bicycle access would also be part of the plan.
“I’m all for it,” said Scott Kindel of Carbondale. “My wife travels to Basalt to shop, because this one is too run down and doesn’t have half of what she’s looking for.”
Gary Gardner of El Jebel lives closer to the City Market there, but agrees Carbondale is due for a new grocery store.
“This is a good company that has been profitable, and is just trying to secure future profits by building a better store in town,” Gardner said. “If they can make more money, then hopefully they can charge us less down the line.”
Starbuck also spoke to concerns that, if the latest store plan does not get approved in Carbondale, the grocery chain might consider a site outside of town limits at Cattle Creek. That’s not a backup plan at this time, he said.
Earlier this year, town trustees weighed in against a request before Garfield County to rezone a 43-acre parcel along Highway 82 near Cattle Creek from residential to commercial general.
That zoning would allow a grocery store as a use by right. The county application was pulled in early May prior to the public hearing process, and has not been resubmitted.
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.