Willits Town Center in Basalt poised for more development after vacant block sells for $2.4 million | AspenTimes.com

Willits Town Center in Basalt poised for more development after vacant block sells for $2.4 million

The vacant land at what's known as Block 4 in Willits Town Center sold last month for $2.4 million. The buyer was the famed Steadman Clinic, the famed sports medicine and orthopedic center based in Vail.

Another major portion of Willits Town Center has moved a step closer to development after a corporation purchased a vacant block for $2.4 million.

An undeveloped site known as Block 4 was sold by Willits Town Center to Block 4 Willits LLC, according to a deed filed Nov. 28 with the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder.

The seller is an affiliate of Platform Ventures, formerly known as Mariner Real Estate Management. The company owns and has developed a significant portion of Willits Town Center, the mixed-use development anchored by Whole Foods.

Block 4 is located along Willits Lane. The high-visibility site is across Harris Street from an apartment complex that is in the final stage of construction.

Basalt town government officials confirmed they worked through scenarios with a prospective buyer, but they declined to identify that party. Block 4 was approved for a 50,000-square-foot mix of commercial and residential space. The new owner requested all commercial space and elimination of the residential space, according to Basalt Town Planner Susan Philp.

The type of commercial space being sought couldn't be confirmed Tuesday. Philp said the new owner must file a plat and apply for a building permit. No further approval is required by the council.

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The latest purchase continues a surge at Willits Town Center. Platform Ventures is completing the 49-unit apartment complex at the entrance to the development. In addition, three small, stand-alone commercial buildings will be constructed adjacent to the apartment complex. They will house American National Bank, Zane's sports bar and a wellness center. A small park will separate the apartment building from the commercial buildings.

The sale of Block 4 for $2.4 million reflects the success of the Willits Town Center project over the past seven years. Mariner Real Estate Management acquired seven of 10 blocks in the development from Bank of America for $9 million in May 2011. It also acquired the other three blocks in the development by agreeing to address about $8 million in mechanic's liens filed by construction firms that said they hadn't been paid for work on what ultimately became the Whole Foods building and other sites.

Construction stopped in 2008 when the prior owner, Joseph Freed and Associates, ran into financial problems. Bank of America foreclosed on JFA in April 2010. Mariner got the construction back on track and in the process of completing the center through development or sales.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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