Valley View Hospital expands presence at Willits in Basalt

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Dee Warwick/VVH courtesy photo
Dee Warwick/VVH courtesy photo

Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs has purchased an entire floor, roughly 20,000 square feet, for medical offices in a building under construction at Basalt’s Willits Town Center.

The hospital has operated offices in a different building at Willits, the Alpine Bank building, since 2005, said Chief Financial Officer Larry Dupper. It started with 3,000 square feet and currently holds 7,000 square feet but needs to expand, he said.

Negotiations for a bigger space have been under way for some time with Valley View, said Tim Belinski, the local representative for Mariner Real Estate Management, the company that owns and is developing Willits Town Center. The second story of the Market Street Crossings building was designed for the medical offices, he said.

The building is south of Whole Foods Market, on the far side of the parking lot from the grocery store.

The new offices are expected to open in summer or fall of 2014, Dupper said. By nearly tripling in size, Valley View will offer more services in the midvalley, he said. There will be offices for family doctors, specialists and rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

There is a growing demand for services in the midvalley as the population grows, according to Valley View officials. Expanding the services at Basalt will allow midvalley residents to stay close to home when the need arises, said Stacey Gavrell, Valley View’s director of communications.

Aspen Valley Hospital also maintains a presence in the midvalley. It opened the After-Hours Medical Care facility in Basalt in February 2009. Aspen Valley Hospital also owned the Mid Valley Medical Center before selling it to various doctors who were leasing space in the mid-2000s. Several of the doctors who operate in that facility, as well as a family doctor and an internal-medicine doctor with offices closer to downtown Basalt, have privileges at Aspen Valley Hospital, said Ginny Dyche, hospital spokeswoman.

Aspen Valley Hospital also is a partner in a same-day surgery center, is the operator of a medical lab and has a joint venture in an MRI machine in the midvalley.

Valley View representatives gave a quick tour of the future facility to Basalt government officials and business leaders Wednesday.

“Besides the fact that it’s adding jobs, it’s giving Basalt independence as far as health care,” said Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt, who took the tour.

She said the existing population base plus the potential for a senior and assisted-living facility in town probably played into Valley View’s expansion.

No information was available Wednesday on how many jobs will be created in Basalt when Valley View opens the facility. In many cases, doctors will split time between offices in Basalt and other locations, as they do now.

Whitsitt said additional workers and additional patients increases demand for other services, such as dining and shopping. A trip to the doctor’s office “is a perfect excuse to have lunch or go shopping,” she said.

Belinski said the ground and third floors of the Market Street Crossings building will be about 18,000 square feet each. The ground floor will be retail. The upper floor will be more offices. He said there are no other announcements about tenants or buyers at this time.

The basement of the building will feature parking and a space that would be ideal for a fitness center, he said.