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Sopris Lodge developers moving forward

Locations: News Published

By John Colson

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

The developers behind a planned senior citizen housing and living center in Carbondale, known as Sopris Lodge, said this week that they are only weeks away from submitting a formal development application to the town.

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Abdi Pirzadeh, president of Aspen Built Homes, confirmed on Friday that he and another proponent, Terry Claassen of TCC Properties, have been working with town officials to hammer out some of the pre-application details for the project, which is proposed for construction on property in Carbondale owned by the Nieslanik family.

TCC properties, based in California, has been involved in developing other projects in Colorado, including senior living centers in Montrose, Golden and Glenwood Springs, according to information about the firm available on the Internet.

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Most recently, according to Claassen, the company was engaged in the initial development-approval process for a project along the Roaring Fork River in Glenwood Springs.

That project, Claassen told The Sopris Sun in July of last year, has been sold to a development partnership in Wisconsin, and was due to break ground soon.

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According to information presented to the Carbondale Board of Trustees in late July, the Sopris Lodge project at that time was envisioned as a 70-unit complex on land just north of the Rio Grand Trail and east of Fourth Street.

Claassen, who was the spokesman for the project at a meeting on July 29, 2015, said the access to the proposed senior complex originally was proposed as a driveway alongside the Rio Grand Trail to Fourth Street.

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But negotiations with the owners of the land in question were not interested, and the focus shifted to a plan to redesign North 2nd Street and its crossing of the Rio Grand Trail, and then create a street leading to the senior project.

Since July, town officials have been studying 2nd Street to determine how it could be redesigned and rebuilt so it would meet the town’s standards for a public street and right-of-way.

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One issue, in July and now, is the question of who might pay the costs of such a street project, which officials agreed could run into the millions of dollars.

Another issue that arose in July was the town’s insistence that the project be open to local senior citizens of modest means as well as those affluent enough to be able to afford more luxurious accommodations.

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Claassen assured the trustees at one point that the project would include “very small units, affordable-type units” in addition to larger, more expensive apartments.

Pirzadeh, who said he will be the representative in charge of the project application, said it is likely it will be submitted within a matter of three weeks to a month.

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Published in The Sopris Sun on February 25, 2016.