Whole Foods construction ready to start in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Whole Foods construction ready to start in Basalt

Scott Condon The Aspen Times

BASALT – Construction on the Whole Foods Market building at Willits Town Center in Basalt is slated to resume next week, three years after it stalled.

Ryan Anderson, co-president of Mariner Real Estate Management, owner of the property, said the mobilization process is nearly complete and the project is “100 percent” on track.

Mariner acquired the property in May. The former owner, Joseph Freed and Associates, lost control of the project after running into financial difficulties during the recession. Freed had completed much of the foundation when work stalled on Labor Day Weekend 2008.

Anderson said the initial work will be completion of the concrete foundation, installation of utilities and dirt work around the building. “By the end of September, people will see steel going up,” he said.

Mariner announced July 29 that it had re-signed Whole Foods Market as the anchor tenant for the development. A prior lease was nullified when construction stalled. The natural grocer will open a 26,000-square-foot market.

Onlookers have been waiting for construction to resume in the month since the announcement, but they’ve only been teased as crews tidied up the work zone and restacked steel. A sure sign that something was about to happen occurred last week when three portable toilets for construction workers were installed at the site. This week, a crew completed a construction fence around the perimeter.

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J.E. Dunn, the contractor on the project, is opening an office in a vacant spot in a completed building adjacent to the work site.

Jim Wilson, building inspector for the town of Basalt, said representatives of the contractor told him on Monday that construction will start next week. The town already issued a structural permit last winter.

Wilson said “modifications” will be made on site to steel columns, so that will delay the erection of the steel structure for a while longer. Once the steel starts going vertical, the contractor expects to have a roof on the building in 10 weeks, according to Wilson.

Mariner will turn over the shell of the building to Whole Foods. The national chain will have its own crew finish the interior. Whole Foods plans to open the market in summer 2012, but no specific month has been pegged. The store is expected to employ up to 120 workers, and draw shoppers from Aspen and throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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