Former Crave space sells, new Basalt restaurant proposed |

Former Crave space sells, new Basalt restaurant proposed

BASALT – Two highly regarded Aspen restaurateurs have purchased a space in Basalt and applied for a liquor license for a new establishment.

Paul and Bee Poh bought the former Crave Kitchen space in the Willits Town Center for $950,000 on March 16, according to documents filed with the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder. The Pohs own and operate Poppycock’s on East Copper Avenue in Aspen.

The Pohs’ company, ALPB LLC, acquired the space in the Triangle Park Loft building from Northern Lights LLC, a company affiliated with American National Bank.

The space sat vacant for a year after Crave fell victim to the recession. Crave Real Estate LLC bought the prime corner spot for $1.3 million in November 2006. The site commanded top dollar at the time because it was located catty corner from the building where Whole Foods Market has signed a lease for a grocery store.

Whole Foods got delayed when the Willits Town Center developer ran into financial difficulties. As a result, the entire development has struggled to draw traffic. Whole Foods has a new lease for a market. Developer Joseph Freed and Associates is trying to raise funds to complete the building.

Todd Slossberg and Rob Zack opened Crave Kitchen in June 2007. The restaurant closed abruptly in March 2009 after apparent troubles with their creditor.

American National Bank received an Eagle County public trustee certificate of purchase for the Crave space in November 2009. The following month, the bank assigned documents related to the space to a new company called Northern Lights LLC. Crave Real Estate gave a confirmation deed to its former restaurant space to Northern Lights on Dec. 15, 2009.

Then in March, the bank affiliate erased the troubled asset from the bank’s books by selling the Crave space for $350,000 less than what it sold for during the real estate boom in late 2006. That’s a discount of about 27 percent.

The sale was one of just a handful of commercial deals in the midvalley in the last 16 months, according to real estate agents.

Paul Poh said last week it was premature to discuss plans for the Basalt restaurant. He and his wife submitted an application to Basalt Town Hall for a liquor license for “Bee’s Kitchen.” The liquor license authority must act on the request within the next 30 days, so the new restaurant could be open by summer.

The Pohs will reportedly continue to operate Poppycock’s in Aspen as well.

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