Work starts on Basalt Whole Foods |

Work starts on Basalt Whole Foods

BASALT, Colorado ” Work is finally underway in Basalt on the Whole Foods Market, one of the most thoroughly discussed ” and highly anticipated ” developments in the midvalley.

Joseph Freed and Associates received a permit from the town government last week to start working on the foundation of the three-story building, which will feature a 44,000-square-foot grocery store on the ground level and affordable housing on the upper two stories.

Excavation of the site was previously allowed. Construction crews are hammering forms into place this week and they will start pouring concrete next week, according to Tim Belinski, vice president of development for Joseph Freed and Associates. A firm called Clayco is the general contractor on the job.

The building will start emerging from the ground next fall, Belinski said. The contract between the developer and grocer requires the shell of the building to be turned over to the finish crews of Whole Foods by early June 2009. Belinski said it behooves the development firm to complete the shell as soon as possible so that the market ” the anchor for the Willits Town Center ” opens as quickly as possible.

“We’d love to have them opened by the holidays ’09,” Belinski said. The opening might not be possible until early 2010, he acknowledged.

Whole Foods officials weren’t available for comment Wednesday. Will Paradise, the regional vice president for Whole Foods, previously explained that the opening will depend on when the finish crews are available in Basalt. The natural foods chain is rapidly expanding, so its finish crews are shuffling between various sites.

The Whole Foods website said Basalt is one of 89 sites where leases have been signed for new stores. They are in various stages of development. The trend for the chain is to build larger stores.

“Existing stores average 34,700 square feet while stores in development average 51,100 square feet,” the website said.

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