The Willits neighborhood has launched Phase Two of their commercial development with thousands of square feet of new space becoming available at the end of 2016. Whole Foods, the anchor tenant that signaled the emergence of Willits as a destination, has grabbed more space for expansion and almost singlehandedly put the Town of Basalt in an economic tailspin.
With completion of the new commercial building, several well-known Aspen tenants have already signed long-term leases, which will continue to build the momentum and buzz. The addition of the Element Hotel by Westin, a second Mezzaluna Restaurant location, a brewpub and a cutting-edge spa guarantees the vibrancy will continue. Add more residential housing, overhead lights and fountains into the mix and Willits is now the place to be.
I was fortunate to negotiate a commercial lease on behalf of HollyAnn, a new locally owned boutique offering women’s clothing, gifts and home décor. (Insider’s say HollyAnn will be much like a “modern Anthropologie”.) Businesses like HollyAnn are a big reason why Willits is thriving. Small locally owned storefronts complement the big box store and offer an attractive mix of retail experience for residents from Aspen to Glenwood.
The future of Downtown Basalt remains unclear. Town leaders are divided and downtown has lost it’s vibrancy. Judging by the Willits experience, Basalt may be one key business from a much needed turnaround.