Basalt goes big

Scott CondonAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT When the Basalt Town Council granted first-round approval Tuesday night to the expansion of the Willits Town Center, it boosted the size of one of the largest projects in the Roaring Fork Valley’s history by 30 percent.Willits Town Center was already approved for 500,000 square feet of retail shops, restaurants and free-market residences. The council approved another 150,000 square feet of residences that will be built on upper floors of buildings spread around the village.To help get a grip on how big the project will eventually be, The Aspen Times compared the specifications to Glenwood Meadows, the new shopping mall in West Glenwood Springs. The anchor tenants at Glenwood Meadows are Lowe’s and Target, which combine for nearly 260,000 square feet of space. That’s 40 percent of the bulk that Willits Town Center will present.The commercial core of Glenwood Meadows is approved for 490,000 square feet. The current big boxes and other stores total 405,000 square feet. In other words, Willits Town Center will be about one-third larger than what a person sees now at Glenwood Meadows, and it will cram it into smaller footprint.

Following are the vital statistics for the two projects.Tale of two projects

Project: Glenwood MeadowsLocation: West GlenwoodAcres: 45Layout: Modified strip mallParking: Surface lotsAnchors: Target (124,000 square feet); Lowes (129,000 square feet)Overall size: 490,000 square feet (405,000 square feet built)Uses: Commercial

Project: Willits Town CenterLocation: West BasaltAcres: 26.3Layout: Compact coreParking: Underground and on-streetAnchors: Whole Foods (44,000 square feet)Overall size: 650,000 square feet (Less than 25 percent built; doesnt include affordable housing space required for 168 employees, as those figures are unavailable. )Uses: Commercial, residential