Basalt developers pull subdivision lots off the market
BASALT The developers of a Basalt subdivision have pulled their last undeveloped single-family-home lots off the market after skyrocketing prices there caught even veteran real estate agents by surprise.The ownership group of the Willits subdivision pulled 20 to 22 undeveloped lots off the market earlier this month, according to managing partner Michael Lipkin. He said the recent significant appreciation in property sales prices prompted his group remove the lots from the multiple listing service so they could take a breath and evaluate what they want to do with them. Lipkin said he and his partners might want to build homes themselves rather than sell the remaining lots.Some observers speculated the high prices of home sales in Willits would attract speculators who would buy the lots, then wait for prices to rise rather than build homes. That might not match Lipkins vision for Willits. He wants the residential area built out quickly to provide the number of residents necessary to make a commercial center, called Willits Town Center, a success.Wendy Lucas, whose company is the listing broker for the Willits developers, said undeveloped lots have sold recently for $285,000 to $338,000. Prices hadnt been raised in a while, she said. Now, she believes most lots would sell for more than $350,000.There are 155 single-family home lots in Willits. About 135 have been developed, Lipkin said. The subdivision provided upper middle class housing when it was first developed earlier this decade, but sales prices on two homes topped $1 million in January.Recently, one of the first homes built in the subdivision also went under contract for more than $1 million, surprising real estate agents . Before the $1 million sales, the previous high sales price in Willits had been $770,000.While the residential market sizzles at Willits, there also has been progress in the commercial area.Lipkins group and Joseph Freed & Associates, a Chicago development company that bought into the project last fall, broke ground on another building that will mix commercial and residential uses in the Willits Town Center. The foundation was poured last month. Lipkin said the new structure is scheduled to be completed by late 2007 or early 08.The new building, called the Market Street Lofts, will have 36,000 square feet available for commercial space with residential units on the upper floor.Pam Brady Ferrara, Joseph Freed & Associates leasing agent for Willits, said interest in the project has increased in the last three months. And, while commercial tenants used to be able to buy their space, storefronts will now only be leased, not sold, Ferrara said.Scott Condons e-mail address is email@example.com.