Willits owner ready to start another building | AspenTimes.com

Willits owner ready to start another building

Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

BASALT – The owner of Willits Town Center plans to break ground this spring on a three-story, 60,000-square-foot building on the south end of the Whole Foods Market parking lot.

Mariner Real Estate Management will have retail uses on the ground level, offices on the second floor and offices or residences occupying the third story, according to Tim Belinski, the local representative for the Kansas City-area company.

The new building, which at this point is only known as Block 6, will be in a prime location.

“It’s really the center of the project,” Belinski said.

Willits Town Center has approvals from the town of Basalt for about 500,000 square feet of mixed commercial and residential uses. Only a fraction of that has been developed. Mariner rescued the project from foreclosure and completed the Whole Food Market building last year to get an anchor tenant drawing traffic to the development. Whole Foods opened in August. Planning is under way on several other buildings.

“The project’s moving along,” Belinski said.

Construction is currently under way on the Parkside building, located between Alpine Bank and the Whole Foods building. The 9,500-square-foot structure will have four commercial spaces on the ground floor. Belinski said a coffee shop will occupy one site and a frozen yogurt shop is signed for another, he said. Lease negotiations are under way with a burger joint and a real estate brokerage to round up the lineup in the Parkside building. There is also 2,000 square feet of office space in the upper floor.

It is widely suspected that Starbucks will take residence in the building, but Belinski said he could only say at this point that a space was designed for a coffee shop. Special permission was granted by the Basalt Town Council for a drive-through window.

The Block 6 building currently doesn’t have any tenants signed, but local businesses and “national outfits” have explored the space, Belinski said. The 20,000-square-foot ground floor will be divided into whatever size of commercial spaces as demand warrants, he said.

Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon said Mariner officials have indicated in talks with his staff that they want retail on the first floor, medical offices on the second floor and a fitness center with underground parking below grade. The basement space is in addition to the 60,000 square feet. Belinski indicated the third story of the building would be office or commercial, as demand warrants.

Mariner is sticking with the existing approvals, so the Block 6 building doesn’t require further review by the Town Council. Excavation for utility work could start within a week, Belinski said, then a full building permit will be pursued in about one month.


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