Marketplace back on table in Carbondale | PostIndependent.com
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Marketplace back on table in Carbondale

Lynn Burton
Staff Writer

Crystal River Marketplace, which appeared dead in the water two weeks ago, is on the move again, and the developer hopes to submit a new final plat application as soon as possible.

“No time line has been set, but we are working (on a new proposal) with all due haste,” said Eric Gross, an attorney for developer Brian Huster.

Carbondale’s Board of Trustees also voted 4-3 on Thursday for town staffers to meet with Huster’s development team, in an effort to restart the development review process.

Huster shocked the community June 6 when he withdrew his development application for a 252,000-square-foot shopping center on Highway 133, only days after receiving preliminary plat approval from Carbondale’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

In a letter to the town, Huster cited a “hopelessly divided community,” and conditions of approval that would render the project “practically and financially impossible to build” as reasons for withdrawal.

Despite the withdrawal, Huster’s preliminary plat approval is still good for a year, Gross said.

Gross said two of the main points of discussion between the developer and the town involve funding for Highway 133 improvements and the project’s primary access point.

Huster wanted to extend Nieslanik Avenue across Highway 133 to be the project’s primary access point. The town staff recommended extending Industry Place, which is to the north, as the primary access point. Gross said Huster has agreed to install a traffic signal at Industry Place and Highway 133, which is the intersection the town has identified as needing the first stop light between Main Street and Highway 82.

The town was also requiring Huster to help fund upgrades to Highway 133, which would be needed in part due to increased traffic brought on by the Marketplace.

“We’re working on getting a better understanding of the scope and cost (of upgrading Highway 133) and the financing mechanism,” Gross said.

Voting for the motion to instruct town staff to meet with the developer were Trustees Fred Williams, Andy Montoya, Susie Darrow and David Rippe. Voting against the motion were Mayor Michael Hassig, and Trustees Russ Criswell and Scott Chaplin.

The new Crystal River Marketplace proposal will be the third one. The first version, proposed more than a year ago, included a housing component, more stores than in the second version and donated space for an art center for the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities. The first proposal was withdrawn after public protest over the project’s size and scale.

The second proposal had fewer stores, but also included a 125,000-square-foot space for an anchor tenant.

The developer had referred to Target numerous times during the second review process. Gross said Huster is still negotiating with Target, and is “unaware” of any decision the retail giant might have made on whether to locate in Carbondale.

Target has declined to comment on its plans for the Roaring Fork Valley.


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