The maturation of the Willits Town Center Mid-Valley development is coming to fruition, as several key projects have either broken ground or are anticipating a start or completion in 2020.
One Willits Place is a new, high-end townhome development in Willits Town Center across the street from Mezzaluna, across the street from the new Mid-Valley location for Isberian Rugs and diagonally located from the new Regus coworking office spaces. The townhomes are currently under construction and February 2020 is the anticipated completion date for the first units. Two units are already under contract.
Tim Belinski and Andrew Light are developing the seven-residence project, with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Real Estate signed on as the lead brokerage selling the units.
“We’re really pleased with how walkable this project is to the center of Willits and to the natural, park setting to the south,” notes Belinski. “Willits has now matured. We have the right anchors and the right mix of retail, and now we’re bringing in more people density to add to the residential.”
One Willits Place is the only location in Willits that allows residential units over 1,800 square feet as part of its current PUD (planned unit development.) While Willits was originally envisioned and planned as Mid-Valley worker housing, mixed with retail operations, there is now a demand for some higher end units.
“What’s unique about One Willits is that it is a great hybrid mix between townhome living and single-family living,” explains Tara Turner, a broker associate with Sotheby’s. “It’s ideal for someone who wants to downsize to something simpler. This is more like a single-family home where you have your own private entrance, your own private courtyard and your own private two-car garage.”
The seven residences face toward the natural, park setting to the south with the mountains in the distance. The three-bedroom units feature a warm, modern design over their 2,100-2,200 square feet of living space with a flexible office/den/exercise room, three baths and an elevator from the two-car garage to the living area.
They will be a one-block walk from the new performing arts center that TACAW is building and the new orthopedic destination being planned by the Steadman Clinic. Whole Foods, an array of other retail, restaurant, medical offices and a RFTA bus stop are a short walking distance away.
“If you look at the activities and amenities of the Mid-Valley now versus what it was five years ago, there’s so much more here, and that’s what we are excited about,” says Andrew Light. “In addition to the walkability of the project, you have a more temperate climate than Upvalley, bike and walking trails and good restaurants. People are coming for the convenience.
“We think socially there is a big realization for people from Aspen and Snowmass that there’s a lot more people down here than were here five or 10 years ago. This is where people’s friends are now, and it’s a changed experience,” he says.
Sotheby’s Turner adds: “Because of the rising commercial expenses Upvalley, now your doctors are here in Willits, your lawyers, your nail and hair people, along with shopping and restaurants that have expanded or relocated from Upvalley.”
One Willits will have courtyards and an extension of Lewis Lane in front of them and a private alley that services the garages behind. A mixed use residential and commercial development will be next door.
“While this project is available for a second-home owner, right now we expect all these units to be occupied year round,” notes developer Belinski. “We’re seeing an immense amount of interest from locals, especially those who are looking to relocate from Snowmass and Aspen and move to this area where they understand what Willits is, and it’s very convenient living.”
While the Willits Town Center development suffered from the same Great Recession slowdown in 2008 that caused many other development projects to either be delayed or abandoned, they bounced back and moved forward with the groundbreaking arrival of Whole Foods in 2010. A total of 362,000 square feet of commercial property is available to build in Willits and 300,014 square feet of residential property. Willits Town Center is controlled by Platform Ventures, a Kansas City private equity firm that has spearheaded the development since Whole Foods was brought on board.
“Whole Foods as the anchor was the key,” explains Belinski. “They’ve done an extraordinary job, and they’ve drawn the customers that were planned. It took patience, and it took creativity. It’s very welcoming here, now, and local government has been patient and put a lot of faith in this project.”
Notes Light: “Retail has changed dramatically in the last 10 years since this project was envisioned. The original plan probably involved a place where you could buy underwear and socks, like a Gap or Banana Republic, but those people aren’t expanding anymore. If you look at Willits now, you have doctors, shared workspace, local retail, and I wouldn’t understate the potential for the new Steadman Hawkins Clinic to be a second anchor in the future.”
Belinski adds: “This will be an orthopedic destination. They will attract people from over the world to the benefit of the Mid-Valley.”