According to the Aspen Skiing Company, skier traffic for Aspen-Snowmass was up for the early part of the ski season relative to last year and in comparison to other Colorado resorts. Skier numbers indicate that Aspen Skier traffic was up about 5%.
PHOTO BY TAYLOR FELDMAN
Aspen is gearing up for the busiest weekend it's seen in possibly two years. Winter X Games 14 takes place at Buttermilk Mountain this weekend January 28-31. Aspen Chamber Resort is predicting a nearly complete sell out in lodging for the Aspen area for the weekend event. It's being said that the upsurge in bookings is a true sign of the improving resort economy in Aspen following the Recession.
PHOTO BY TAYLOR FELDMAN
Last week, I attended the 5th Annual Luxury Real Estate International Conference at the Ambasciatori Palace in Rome, Italy.
The conference was hosted by John Brian Losh, Chairman and CEO of Luxury Real Estate (LuxuryRealEstate.com and Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate), a membership-driven luxury brokerage assemblage based in Seattle, Washington. The network includes the most prominent global luxury brokers and meets three times each year, nationally and internationally, to discuss current real estate trends.
The recent conference in Rome covered multiple topics of great interest to those who serve the high net-worth demographic. An ongoing theme, covered at each of the conferences, is the state of luxury market around the world. Discussions focused on what strategies are most effective in the current world economy, ways to build business and establish connections in international markets and using social media tools to impact your business.
Several attendees followed the conference with networking events at Castello di Casole in Tuscany and in Venice and Florence. Many continued on to participate in the Luxury Real Estate European Ski Trip in Colfosco, Italy.
LuxuryRealEstate.com, a 2009 Webby Award Honoree, has been voted ‘Best of the Web’ by Forbes magazine multiple times, praised by the International Herald Tribune, Town & Country, the Wall Street Journal and has been ranked ‘Best Website’ by consumers according to surveys by the Luxury Institute. Since its debut in 1995, LuxuryRealEstate.com has remained the #1 portal for luxury properties on the internet, consistently driving more traffic to member websites and generating more qualified inquiries than any other website. LuxuryRealEstate.com has several times more $1,000,000+ content of any near-peer.
Also known in the industry as the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network, a global collection of the finest luxury real estate brokers in the world, this group of more than 1000 brokerage firms and 95,000 professionals in more than 65 countries collectively sells in excess of $190 billion of real estate annually, with an average sale price of $2,450,000. Members sell homes for record prices and handle transactions of incredible complexity and magnitude with complete discretion. Every member is carefully selected by CEO/Publisher John Brian Losh, one of REALTOR Magazine’s 25 Most Influential People in Real Estate and broker of fine properties and estates through his Seattle-based brokerage firm, Ewing & Clark, Inc.
501 West Hopkins, Aspen
Hallams Addition, Lot 1, Block 98, Aspen
Aspen Townhomes Central, Unit 6, Aspen
Several businesses are prospering in Aspen, despite the tough economic times of late. Aspen's Grateful Deli, the new sandwich shop in town, Susann's Hair Salon, Paradise Bakery and Little Annie's are all reporting either growth in business, or an up or "good" year in 2009. All these businesses state that they have cut prices or offered specials, which they believe have helped in their good fortunes.
PHOTO BY TAYLOR FELDMAN
Many sectors of the Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley economies suffered significantly in 2009. For example, the news today focuses on reduced retail sales in 2009 and the "crippled" construction industry in Aspen. On the up-side, Aspen-Pitkin County Airport reported that the overall capacity last year at the Aspen Airport increased significantly. Aviation and tourism officials attribute the growth in 2009 to increased competition among the air carriers flying into Aspen. For example, Frontier Airlines started daily flights into Aspen from Denver and completed their first year of business in the Aspen market last year. The overall increased number flights forced ticket prices down in 2009, encouraging tourists and especially locals to fly into and out of Aspen.
Alpine Bank currently holds a $22.25 million note to Aspen Land Fund II, the developer of the proposed Lodge At Aspen. The loan was initiated in March 2008 to fund the development planned at the base of Aspen Mountain on South Aspen Street. The loan of course is secured by the real estate (land) on Aspen Street where the development is proposed. However, Aspen Land Fund II filed for Chapter 11 protection in US Bankruptcy Court in September 2009. Chapter 11 protection provisions would allow them reorganization of corporate finances, i.e. debt, and may prevent Alpine Bank from foreclosing on the Aspen property in the event of nonpayment on the loan. Court documents do indicate that Aspen Land Fund II has not made monthly payments on the loan to Alpine Bank since they filed for Chapter 11 protection last September. In turn, Alpine Bank has filed motions with the court asking for dismissal of the conditions of Chapter 11, which would allow the Aspen Bank to proceed with foreclosure action on the Aspen Street property.