ASPEN AND BASALT REAL ESTATE — A Kansas investment company took control of the Willits Town Center project in Basalt Thursday by paying $9 million to buy a major portion of the project and acquiring an outstanding bank loan on a more lucrative part, public documents show. Willits Town Center LLC, a subsidiary of Mariner Wealth Advisors of Leawood, Kansas, bought a part of Willits Town Center that Bank of America foreclosed on last year. Most, if not all, of that property is undeveloped. In the 2010 foreclosure proceeding, Bank of America said the former owner, Joseph Freed & Associates (JFA), defaulted on a construction loan with $28.37 million in outstanding principal. Bank of America’s willingness to sell that portion of the project at a substantial loss, at a price of $9 million, reflects the drop in property values during the Great Recession.That transaction didn’t include the real prize at Willits Town Center — the site approved for a grocery store that is envisioned as the anchor tenant. Whole Foods Market had an agreement to construct a 25,000-square-foot supermarket on one of three blocks not included in the sale. JFA poured the foundation for the building and completed some of the infrastructure before running out of financing in September 2008.

By Scott Condon, May 7, 2011, AT

Basalt Area Demographics:

Primary Trade Area
Est. Population (2008) 38,110
Est. 2013 Population 40,920
Est. Households (2008) 15,457
Avg. Household Income $84,787
Median Age 37
College Education 40.3%
Daytime Population 36,660