Whole Foods says its patience hasn’t worn out yet for the project…The abrupt change of circumstances in Basalt has town officials and Whole Foods Market in a wait-and-see mentality. An initial lease with Whole Foods expired when construction stalled on the project in September 2008. The contract required the developer to turn over the shell of a building in June 2009 so the grocer could complete the interior. Whole Foods signed a new contract last month.“We’ve got a store designed. We’re ready to go,” said Will Paradise, Whole Foods regional president for the Rocky Mountain region.

ASPEN BASALT REAL ESTATE — The developer of the Willits Town Center project in Basalt was surprised last week when its lender started foreclosure proceedings — an action that may be retribution for a financial battle between the parties in Chicago, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.Joseph Freed and Associates (JFA) believed it had an agreement with lender Bank of America that would allow it to move forward with development of the Whole Foods Market building, according to spokeswoman Jayne Thompson. Bank officials allegedly indicated they wanted to make “defensive financing” for the project.“Freed understood the rationale to be that by funding improvements to the project — like the addition of the Whole Foods Market — the bank was actually increasing the value of its collateral,” Thompson said.But when JFA contested Bank of America’s foreclosure of a major retail development in Chicago last year, discussions about the defensive financing in Basalt stopped, she said.
By Scott Condon, April 28, 2010 Aspen Times

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