Willits, El Jebel experiencing residential construction boom
MIDVALLEY CONSTRUCTION BOOM
Numerous projects, mostly residential, are underway in Basalt and unincorporated Eagle County. Here is a glance at the projects:
•Park Modern Five — 10 single-floor condominiums, Willits. Construction started this winter on building five of the seven-building complex.
•One Willits Place — Groundbreaking is expected this winter on seven luxury row houses on vacant land across East Valley Road from Mezzaluna in Willits Town Center.
•Basalt Vista —construction is underway on nine units on the hillside behind Basalt High School. This is the first phase of what will be a 27-unit affordable housing complex.
•One 10 Harris — construction is nearing completion on a 49-unit apartment complex in Willits Town Center, just off the roundabout on Willits Lane. Work is underway on three small commercial building located just east of the apartment complex.
•Shadowrock — construction was recently completed on three two-bedroom luxury townhomes and work is underway on four three-bedroom units.
•Willits Bend — construction is underway on the third building in the complex off the eastern end of Willits Lane. The latest building will feature storage on the bottom and 8 studio apartments on the upper floor.
•Roaring Fork Club — 13 lots for luxury cabins have been sold and building permits were issued for five units, with another soon to be issued. The cabins are between 3,200 and 4,000 square feet.
•Tree Farm — the development team is working a final plat application for phase I of the residential and commercial project across Highway 82 from Whole Foods. The goal is to start infrastructure work this spring.
•Steadman Orthopedic Clinic — the clinic has purchased vacant land in Willits Town Center but hasn’t announced timing for its new facility.
The midvalley is experiencing a building boom this winter that is dominated by luxury townhomes, row houses and condominiums.
Two projects that rode out the recession are back in full swing. The Shadowrock luxury townhouses in El Jebel recently completed three two-bedroom units and are now constructing four three-bedroom units.
“The market has been consistent for us,” listing broker Tom Banner said this week.
The development team has sold 61 townhouses thus far. It has approvals to build 100.
“We’re downsizing by developer’s choice,” Banner said. “We’re not going to build 100. We are probably going to build 94.”
Another housing project, Park Modern, is working on its fifth building of what will be a seven-building complex in the residential portion of Willits. The latest building features 10 single-floor units.
The new kid on the block is One Willits Place, a project that has approvals in hand and anticipates breaking ground this winter in Willits Town Center. Roaring Fork Valley development industry veterans Tim Belinski and Andrew Light are heading One Willits Place LLC’s effort to build seven row houses. The site is across East Valley Road from Mezzaluna restaurant.
They purchased the vacant block 11 in Willits Town Center for $2.2 million, according to a deed filed Nov. 30. Belinski has been the longtime local contact for the Willits Town Center developer Platform Ventures, formerly known as Mariner Real Estate Management. After years of working to lease or sell space in Willits, Belinski decided the time was ripe to buy property and develop it himself.
“This location has the best views of any block in Willits Town Center and it is within walking distance of everything,” he said.
The seven row houses are the largest residences allowed in Willits Town Center, he said. A website for the project says that will be three bedrooms plus an office and den for a total of 2,100 to 2,200 square feet each. They each will have a private, two-car garage and individual elevator.
The prices at all three projects reflect the strength of the midvalley market right now. The pre-construction prices listed for the One Willits Place units start at $1.3 million.
The latest phases of the Shadowrock units range from $650,000 for the two-bedroom units to up to $1.2 million for the three bedroom units. Banner said the views of the future units would be even more stunning as development goes up a hillside. The prices will reflect those views, he said.
The listing prices range at Park Modern range from $699,000 to $1.35 million.
Elsewhere in the midvalley, work is being completed on a 49-unit, free-market apartment complex in Willits Town Center called One 10 Harris. The building is just off the Willits Lane roundabout at a prime entrance to the center. In addition, work is underway on the first of three small commercial buildings on the east side of the apartment building. Work is underway on the American National Bank building. Two existing Aspen businesses, Zane’s Tavern and Jean-Robert’s Gym, plan to open midvalley branches in the other two commercial buildings, according to Belinski.
The website for One Willits Place confirms that Steadman Orthopedic Clinic purchased vacant land at the intersection of Harris Street and Willits Lane. The parcel was purchased for $2.4 million, according to a deed recorded Nov. 28. Steadman officials have not responded to repeated requests from The Aspen Times about their plan for a Willits clinic.
Across Highway 82 from Whole Foods and adjacent to Shadowrock is the location of the Tree Farm project, which Eagle County approved for a blend of residential, commercial and potentially hotel space. The development team of landowner Ace Lane is working on an application for final plat for phase one, according to Dave Marrs. They anticipate starting infrastructure work this spring. A decision is pending in a lawsuit challenging Eagle County’s approval of the project.
Not all midvalley construction is confined to Willits Town Center and El Jebel. On the east end of Willits Lane, work has started on the third building in Willits Bend complex. A lot was sold to a man who plans to store a car collection, according to Rob Tobias, head of a group of investors who own Willits Bend. The upper floor of the new building will have eight studio apartments, he said.
Tobias and his partners aren’t interested in developing the space, he said. Instead they are selling land to parties interested in building. Eagle County granted approvals for an overall square footage for the site. At build-out, there could be up to eight buildings and warehouses.
In the Southside neighborhood of Basalt, construction is underway on the first phase of Basalt Vista. Nine units are being constructed out of a total of 27.
The affordable-housing project is a collaborative effort among Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork, Pitkin County and Roaring Fork School District. The units are for teachers and other employees of the school district as well as workers in Pitkin County.
The first units will be completed in May. Additional units will be constructed this year.
In east Basalt, the Roaring Fork Club is poised for a flurry of activity. Thirteen new residential lots were sold. Building permits have been issued for five luxury cabins and construction on some of them is underway. An additional permit will be issued shortly, according to Basalt town government. The cabins are between 3,200 and 4,000 square feet.
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The city of Aspen is advancing three affordable housing projects that could translate into hundreds of new units coming online in the next several years.