Re-1 tops off North Face land purchase
It’s official: The North Face property has a new owner. The Roaring Fork Re-1 School District formally closes on the purchase of the 24.5-acre parcel today.The school board held a public meeting to adopt and ratify the purchase on Wednesday. Tentative plans are to use the site as a future campus facility, to possibly include teacher housing, or perhaps a new middle school campus.”It’s very exciting,” said Robin Garvik, school board president. Now she is looking to the future. “What fits best on that property? We need to work with the town and assess the needs we have in the district.”The school district put the parcel under contract in February, but it’s taken the past six months to negotiate the purchase. Three entities – the town of Carbondale, Roaring Fork School District and the North Face – had to come to terms with the conditions of the sale, which involved amendments to development issues such as open space allocation, road improvements, and affordable housing. The town agreed with the district that the school district would, through ballfields and playgrounds, provide adequate open space on the site. The town and district also agreed that the district would pay for a portion – as yet to be determined – of road improvements at the site’s intersection with Highway 133.With regards to teacher housing, the district agreed with the town that teacher housing be restricted to 20 percent of the total development.”We agreed someplace in the middle,” Garvik said. During the purchase process, she said, the town and school district came to realize, “we are them, and they are us. We are here to work with town government. (This purchase) benefits Carbondale, and benefits Re-1.”The North Face has owned the site since the late 1990s. The outdoor equipment giant purchased the property for approximately $3 million and planned to build its corporate offices in Carbondale. But financial difficulties forced the company to abandon the site. The property was put back on the market for $5.95 million. Roaring Fork Re-1 was able to close on the property for $4 million, considerably less than the North Face’s original asking price. In addition, Carbondale Realtor Ernie Gianinetti, of Ernie Gianinetti & Associates Inc., donated his commission on the sale – $108,000 – to the school district. This brings purchase price today to $3,892,000.,”(Gianinetti) has really been such an advocate for the school district,” said Garvik. “He really cares about this community. We owe him a huge thank-you.”The school district financed the down payment of the property through land dedication fees secured by the town of Carbondale and Garfield County. The fees are collected from developers and held in the school district’s behalf for land purchases. The district also refinanced some long-term debt to complete the down payment. The rest of the purchase price, approximately $2.7 million, is being financed through Wells Fargo Bank in Denver. Roaring Fork Re-1 finance director Shannon Pelland noted that securing land is critical for the district.”The opportunity for purchasing this property presented itself to us, and it made a lot of sense,” she said. “The parcel is so close to many of the other schools in Carbondale. We can see the potential for sharing facilities.”After closing on the property today, the next order of business is to start planning what to do with it.”The very next step is to begin assessing our needs and devising a master plan,” said Garvik. “We’ll be asking for RFPs (request for proposals), and working closely with the town, the public and the board of education to determine the property’s future.”
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