Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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August 20, 2012
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Willits Town Center owner eyes fourth new building

The owner and developer of Willits Town Center is striking while the iron is hot.

Mariner Real Estate Management plans to construct another building, the fourth within the Willits Town Center core, said company co-president Ryan Anderson. The Parkside building will be located along East Valley Road, between the Alpine Bank building and the new Whole Foods Market building. It will also be highly visible from Highway 82.

Whole Foods opened Wednesday and, as the anchor tenant, added a huge boost to the visibility of Willits Town Center. Basalt has approved about 500,000 square feet of development there. Only a fraction of it has been developed. (The Alpine Bank building and Willits General Store building are technically part of Willits Town Center but were approved separately.)

Mariner hung a banner on a fence at the Parkside building site on Wednesday, taking advantage of the opening of Whole Foods Market. Thousands of shoppers drove by the site to the grocery store.

The new building will be about 8,000 square feet, Anderson said. Mariner is negotiating to get a coffee shop as a tenant, he said, and company officials would also like to see a restaurant there. The uses will be primarily retail, with one space for an office.

Anderson said he couldn't divulge what coffee shop is being sought. There's been widespread speculation that Willits Town Center will soon be home to a Starbucks.

Mariner's goal is to break ground this fall and complete the building by spring, Anderson said. Construction will begin as soon as a couple of contracts are signed with tenants.

In addition to preparing to build the Parkside building, Mariner is working on plans for a fifth building. "We do have one more in the pipeline," Anderson said. That building will be on the opposite side of a parking lot from Whole Foods. The town planning staff and Mariner officials are discussing plans for a building with a mix of residential and commercial uses.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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