Each year in June, The Sopris Sun takes a crack at counting all the commercial spaces within Carbondale town limits, then calculating what percentage are occupied. This year, 93% of the commercial inventory was found to be occupied, matching pre-pandemic, 2019 conditions. The makeup of commercial spaces, however, looks quite different than in 2019.
The clearest example is the former City Market, owned by The Kroenke Group, which has sat empty (with the lights on) for nearly three years. Attempts by Lift-Up to acquire the 45,000 square-foot space were unsuccessful, according to the food justice nonprofit’s executive director. Still, a sign facing the highway lists the building as available to lease. We called the number and received no response.
Just north, Carbondale Marketplace is growing. All spaces associated with the new City Market building are under lease, and 5,718 square-feet of commercial space on the ground floor of the newest apartment building is being built out for a physical therapy center and dry cleaner. Carbondale’s 29,240-square-foot lumberyard is also nearing completion. The site will consolidate Builder FirstSource’s three Valley locations and is expected to bring in substantial sales tax revenue.
Across the highway at Hayden’s Place, the apartments that replaced the Sopris Shopping Center have 7,500 square feet of commercial available to lease, out of 10,370 total square feet. The former shopping center, by comparison, was 29,896 square feet. Sopris Self Storage’s new 68,000 square-foot, climate-controlled facility is now renting out 375 units. More storage is being built north of the electrical substation, with 590 units on 2.8 acres.
The nearby dilapidated shopping plaza, built in 1965, has three spaces apparently occupied and the others are vacant. A number listed in front of the complex advertises it is for sale. As reported by John Colson in The Sopris Sun in 2017, “Roughly two-thirds of the land under the building is actually part of the federal-grant right-of-way for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad tracks.”
On Main Street, the historic Dinkel Building is being renovated. According to the renovation director, Katherine Ingersoll, the upstairs offices will be condensed into a few larger suites, “although that may change in the future.” Some prior tenants are interested in moving back in, as well as new tenants. “Our goal is to create a mix of old and new in the spaces,” said Ingersoll. The project aims to be mostly complete by the conclusion of the year.
Further east on Main, COVENTURE is observing “a significant surge in the demand for commercial real estate,” said Teresa Tenbrick. Working from home has apparently grown old, as the business incubator and accelerator’s coworking space meets its capacity. “Many individuals now express a strong inclination towards working outside their homes,” confirmed Tenbrick.
The same has been observed at the Third Street Center, where 43 of the 44 leasable spaces are occupied. “I have noticed an increase in the number of inquiries about space since the fall of last year,” said Executive Director Colin Laird. “Most are from folks looking for a small office space.”
Some business spaces are occupied though not yet operational. These include the mysterious bakery at 234 Main Street and the new bar moving into Batch’s former space, El Dorado. Attempts to contact the bakery’s owners, which replaced the historic telephone switchboard building while mimicking its design, have been unsuccessful. According to the building’s architect, the business will serve walk-in customers once it opens.
Only one vacancy was counted along Dolores Way, with no advertising to fill it. Silo, a popular breakfast and lunch spot, is now open again after a winter-long hiatus.
Other oddities observed include a new barber shop on the east-end of Main Street, as well as a new barber shop carved into Sopris Liquor & Wine’s expansion into what was a neighboring restaurant space. The old Harmony Scott location is now a short-term rental, and no longer a retail space.
The greatest concentration of commercial spaces available to rent was found at the professional building at 1101 Village Road, a red building with an inner courtyard.
“Carbondale’s sales tax increased 14.1% between 2021 and 2022 and is tracking at a 3.5% increase between 2022 and 2023 for year-to-date,” Christy Chicoine, Carbondale’s finance director, told The Sopris Sun. “The Town budgeted a 3% increase in sales tax for the 2023 budget.”
The new bakery at 234 Main Street remains a mystery. Photo by Raleigh Burleigh