Council not Ready to OK Wheeler Expansion
Aspen City Council will not grant conceptual approval of the Wheeler Opera House's proposed expansion until they see a pro forma and a long-term operations budget for the expanded facility.
The proposal includes a new sub-grade theater, expanded lobbies on the second and third floor, a community meeting room, new offices for Wheeler staff and an affordable housing unit.
It has been reduced in size from four to three stories as a result of objections raised at the planning & zoning historic preservation commissions.
Aspen Art Museum Still Searching for New Locale
The Aspen Art Museum, which reportedly had its best summer ever, is still looking for a new home.
Museum executive director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson said they have met with various property owners in an effort to find a spot for a new museum. The current 7,000 square -foot facility on the publicly-owned Galena Plaza east of the Pitkin County Library.
Lodge at Aspen Mountain Developers File for Bankruptcy
Aspen Land Fun II, the development group that wants to build a hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.
John Sarpa, a principal with the group, said the bankruptcy was a strategic move to retain control of the property and its future. The filing came after Alpine Bank advised that it had entered into an agreement to sell its loan on the project to a third party who planned to build townhomes approved for the site several years ago.
Aspen Land Fund II will continue to work with a citizen task force on plans for a 160,000 sf hotel it wants to build in the large empty lots on the west side of Aspen Street beneath Lift 1A.
Hotel Jerome Facing Foreclosure
Foreclosure proceedings were opened against the owners of the Hotel Jerome in late September.
County records indicate LCP-Elysian Aspen Owner LLC has an unpaid balance of $36,292,781 to newly formed Jerome Property LLC, which holds the deed of trust on the property.
Jerome Properties LLC was formed on August 25th and six days later bought the deed of trust from Aurora Bank, an affiliate of Lehman Brothers Holding, Inc.
Elysian Worldwide LLC and Lodging Capital Partners, LLC, both of Chicago, purchased the 113,282 Square-foot hotel in 2007 for $52.2 million from Oklahoma Publishing, which paid $33.7 million for the property in June 2005.
City to Implement New Environmental Regulations
New development in the city of Aspen will be required to meet new standards that minimize environmental impact, beginning on January 1, 2010.
The standards focus on energy consumption, stormwater runoff and air pollution. The new guidelines will set minimum standards, and then provide suggestions for ways a development can exceed those standards.
Viceroy Buyers Want Out
Seven buyers at the Snowmass Viceroy have filed a lawsuit to back out of their purchase contracts and get their earnest money back.
The buyers claim the right to back out of their contracts because developer Related Westpac did not file the proper documents regarding the layout of the condominium hotel with authorities.
The seven buyers paid $1.16 million in earnest money for contracts signed between December 2007-March 2008.
Snowmass Approves Chapel
The Snowmass Village Town Council approved a new Snowmass Chapel and Community Center.
The new building will be nearly 30,000 square feet, triple the size of what's there now, with a height of nearly 60 feet at its tallest point and a 70 foot steeple.
Exchange Fuels Approval of McClain Flats Subdivision
Construction of a three-home compound on the site of the historic, 148-acre Stein Ranch on McClain Flats Road has received the nod from Pitkin County last month.
In exchange, property owner Bob Hurst agreed to transfer title to approximately 13 acres to the county, allowing the extension of Sunnyside Trail and the reopening of a rock climbing area known as Gold Butte, and an ice climbing area called Sewer Falls. Both climbing areas have been closed since the mid-1980s.
Hurst, a vice chairman at Goldman Sachs, must also restore 17 acres of degraded sagebrush and place more than 57 acres or his property under a conservation easement.
The three newly approved homes will be limited to 5,750 square feet above ground, and an additional 3,000 feet below ground with the purchase of transferable development rights. The property already includes a home of more than 12,000 square feet. Vested rights on the approval run to October 2020.
Local Air Services Looks Strong for the Winter
United Airlines has added two additional flights to its schedule this winter; a third daily non-stop to Chicago and a fifth weekly flight to San Francisco.
The airline says it will continue flying 11 flights daily between Aspen and Denver, and three to and from Los Angeles.
Delta will fly once daily between Aspen and Atlanta, and eight times a week to Salt Lake City down from 13 flights last year.
Frontier Airlines will provide the same level of service as last year, with four daily flights between Aspen and Denver.
Three Local Neighborhoods Among America's Priciest
A median home price just under $3 million makes Old Snowmass - the 81654 zip code - the 13th most expensive area to buy a home in the country, according to a survey by Forbes Magazine.
Aspen is the 20th most expensive with a median price of $2.74 million. Snowmass Village is 82nd, at a price of $1.76 million. Vail holds 87th position with a median price of $1.72 million.
The country's most expensive zip code is 07620, in Alpine, N.J., with a median home price of $4.14 million.
Median home prices in the survey are based on listings rather than sales.