Some food for thought | AspenTimes.com

Some food for thought

Dear Editor:

I have recently learned that Whole Foods may not actually come to Basalt.

I have spoken to a lot of people in the valley. Every individual, bar none, has said that they are excited about the idea of Whole Foods being a part of our valley experience.

My understanding is that the building Whole Foods will occupy has been approved. For that matter, the Basalt Town Council has approved the entire Willits commercial and residential development. This project will be built.

The Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission has already approved a 36,000-square-foot building for Whole Foods to occupy. Apparently, Whole Foods needs 44,000 square feet ” an increase of 8,000 square feet. The lease that Whole Foods has placed on the building is contingent on its ability to gain up the additional space. Whole Foods has also asked for more parking.

In order to avoid a huge above ground parking lot, the Willits development group has gone back to the town to look at putting all the residential parking underground.

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If the Basalt Town Council declines approval of the additional 8000 square feet of commercial space, along with some extra parking, then Whole Foods will pull out of its contract.

It sounds like the Willits developers may go back to the town with a separate application at a later date to ask for more density in residential units. In my mind, that is an issue that they can work out with the town and the community sometime in the future.

For now, the weight in the balance is whether or not the community will support the decision to solidify Whole Foods’ presence in the mid-valley.

I think that it would be a shame to lose a great anchor store with a stellar national reputation at Willits. If Whole Foods goes away, someone else will inevitably fill the preapproved 36,000 square feet of commercial space. Will that store be what the community wants? Personally, I would rather not find out.

Doug Leibinger

Basalt

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