Whole Foods gets permit for $4.74M project in Basalt

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

BASALT – Whole Foods Market has obtained a building permit to finish the interior of its future 27,000-square-foot grocery store at Willits Town Center in Basalt.

The project is valued at $4.74 million, according to Basalt building official Jim Wilson. The town government reaped $67,760 in permit fees to cover review of the plan and the issuance of the building permit.

Mariner Real Estate Management, owner and developer of Willits Town Center, is constructing the shell of the building that will include Whole Foods. The building is 47,000 square feet with several smaller spaces for other shops and restaurants. Whole Foods Market typically has its own crews finish the interiors of its grocery stores.

Mariner’s exterior project was valued at $5.15 million. It paid building and development fees of $177,813 for the project last fall.

Whole Foods officials previously said they want to finish the store in June or July. Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane told the Town Council this week that the grand opening might be pushed back to August.

The grocery store will create about 100 jobs. Of those, 60 to 65 will be full-time positions, Whole Foods Regional President Will Paradise told The Aspen Times in November.

In addition to the infusion from the building fees, the town coffers will benefit from additional sales tax once the store opens. Kane said the town staff intentionally kept sales tax projections flat for 2012, but they will grow by some amount thanks to the new grocery store and other shops that could be opening alongside Whole Foods.

The town’s fiscal year started with a bang. Sales tax revenues from December were up 4.5 percent over the same month in 2010. The town collected $385,442 in December compared with $368,582 for the month in 2010.

Restaurants with bars had a particularly strong month, with sales nearly 79 percent over December 2010, the town’s sales tax report showed. The general retail category, which includes the mom-and-pop shops, was up 17 percent, the report showed. Sporting retail shops managed to post a 2 percent gain.

The retail food category, which includes the existing two grocery stores in Basalt, saw sales increase by less than 1 percent in December. That category generates the most sales tax for the town.


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