July 2010

Significant Aspen Real Estate Closings - June 26 through June 30, 2010

Significant Aspen Real Estate Closings - June 26 through June 30, 2010

1151 Willoughby Way




The Pines, Parcel G

Snowmass Village


372 Glen Eagles



Residences at the Little Nell, UnitF207-Two 1/8 interests




Posted by gary on July 12, 2010 in

Aspen Board of Realtors July Observer

Aspen Board of Realtors July Observer
 ABOR OBSERVERJuly 2010                Top Story — Hidden Gems catches attention of Congressman, SkiCo and Pitkin BOCCThe 342,000-acre Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal dominated headlines last month, as Congressman Jared Polis began a public input process to consider the possibility of legislation to protect some or all of the proposed wilderness in his district.  The Pitkin County Commissioners and Aspen Skiing Co. also spoke up on the proposal last month, with the commissioners asking for continued public outreach and SkiCo endorsing the proposal. Rep. Polis, D-Boulder, held three meetings last month in his district, which includes Eagle and Summit Counties. All were well attended, with wilderness supporters outnumbering opponents by a ratio of 7-2 at the meeting in Boulder and 3-2 in Breckenridge. In Edwards, where nearly 600 people showed up, area newspapers estimated the crowd was split evenly.  Polis is optimistic a bill can be crafted from the 243,000 acres of proposed wilderness in Eagle and Summit Counties. He has not indicated how much of that acreage he is interested in protecting or whether he would propose legislation this year. The Aspen Skiing Co. sent Polis a letter endorsing the entire proposal and urging him to enact the entire Hidden Gems proposal in Summit and Eagle Counties.  “The Aspen Skiing Co. has a long history of preserving open space and wild lands,” said Auden Schendler, the company’s sustainability director.  Sloan Shoemaker, executive director of the Wilderness Workshop in Carbondale, updated the Pitkin County Commissioners on the proposal’s progress in Pitkin and Gunnison Counties. Overall, there are about 100,000 acres of proposed wilderness in the two counties.  Shoemaker told the county commissioners that the campaign has removed half of the land it originally envisioned for protection in Pitkin County, primarily to accommodate snowmobilers, mountain bikers, climbers, ranchers and gas lease holders.  For Commissioner Jack Hatfield, the public outreach by Hidden Gems was enough for an endorsement. Commissioners Rachel Richards and George Newman were more guarded in their comments, urging the campaign to continue its outreach, while Commissioner Michael Owsley was concerned about the division it has created in the community.  Rep. John Salazar, D-Alamosa, is sponsoring wilderness legislation for lands in Southwest Colorado and has indicated he won’t take action this year on the Hidden Gems proposal for Pitkin and Gunnison counties, which are part of his district.   Aspen —Aspen seeks historic designation for threatened Given InstituteThe Aspen Historic Preservation Commission is applying to get the Given Institute listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The historic designation application was approved in response to the University of Colorado’s plan to demolish the 40-year-old institute and sell it to a developer. CU's attorney said in a letter that the city has no purview over the building because the land is technically owned by an arm of the state.

The HPC said CU should reconsider its demolition plan because the structure was designed and built by a world-renown architect, and was a gift in to the university by prominent local community advocate and expansionist Elizabeth Paepcke.

If the application is successful and the building is listed with the national register, CU will still have the right to do whatever it wants, but the HPC hopes the initiative will convince the university to keep the building.

Aspen wants more information on hospital project

Aspen City Council wants more information about the proposed expansion of Aspen Valley Hospital before it signs off on the plan.

Councilman Torre specifically expressed concern about the size of the project and the number of affordable housing units it included. AVH responded a few days later by cutting the number of affordable housing units.
 Once approved, the plan will result in a hospital campus of approximately 214,000 square feet, nearly triple the size of the current facility.

Hospital employees and executives say the existing facility needs significant upgrades. But some neighbors voiced concern about the expansion exacerbating existing annoyances about the hospital, including noise produced by the machines that operate there.

Sirko steps into statewide role Aspen Schools Superintendent Diana Sirko left the Aspen School District last month to become a deputy commissioner with the state department of education in Denver.

She is tasked with developing and implementing a new statewide testing program to replace the Colorado Student Assessment System. The new system, one of the most aggressive accountability experiments in the nation, will link teacher evaluations to how well their students perform on the new annual tests.  Her husband, Mike Sirko, is staying on as Aspen’s football coach this fall.
Jerome foreclosure finalized; new partners take over
The foreclosure sale last month of the loan for the Hotel Jerome was the second highest dollar foreclosure sale in recent memory. Chicago-based Jerome Property LLC was the sole bidder for the debt, which it bought for $38.91 million, according to the Pitkin County Treasurer’s Office.  Jerome Property LLC is owned in part by developers Fred Latsko and Mark Hunt. Four food carts allowed in townAspen City Council took steps last month to limit the number of outdoor food carts in town to four.  Council also wants food cart operators to submit detailed business plans, stating hours of operation and what products would be served. The city would be given enforcement powers to hold the operators to those business plans.

Food carts are allowed on private property in the commercial core zone district, which encompasses about a nine-block area of downtown, as long as they have a licensed kitchen to operate out of and the blessing of adjacent businesses.
 RFTA eyes new Aspen routeThe city of Aspen is trying to decide how to route in-bound buses through Aspen once the bus rapid transit (BRT) program is implemented in 2013.  BRT, which combines express buses and dedicated bus lanes, is expected to add about 8 percent to the total volume of buses traveling in and out of Aspen.  City Council will decide whether buses should turn off Main Street onto Spring Street, as most buses bound for Rubey Park currently do, or at an alternative such as Aspen Street, Monarch Street or Garmisch Street. RFTA prefers Garmisch Street because it would allow them to avoid traffic signals and save time, but it would impact a quiet residential street. Restaurant remodel gets three red tags in one monthThe city of Aspen issued three red tags in 30 days and then threatened legal action against restaurateur Scott DeGraff and his contractor for failing to comply with their permit for  redevelopment of the building at 305 S. Mill Street, most recently home to D-19.  After being ignored for weeks, the city building department warned DeGraff and contractor Andrew Neddleton that they may end up in front of a municipal judge who can suspend or revoke the contractor’s license. Neddleton said he was working with the city to ensure the matter is settled out of court. DA's Aspen election probe continuesDeputy District Attorney Tony Hershey says an investigation into election law violations in Aspen is under way.

The 9th Judicial District DA's office launched the investigation in response to an affidavit filed by Marilyn Marks. Hershey said the issues are complex, involving state and city election laws. Once the investigation is complete, the DA's office will decide whether to pursue criminal charges.
 Sheen refuses plea deal over no-smoking policyA plea bargain on domestic violence charges against actor Charlie Sheen fell through after the actor refused to perform community service at Theater Aspen because he would be allowed to smoke. Pitkin County’s community service rules dictate that inmates are not allowed to be in “possession of smoking products, cigarette lighters and matches.” Sheen faces felony menacing and assault charges, along with a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief, for allegedly threatening to kill his wife, Brooke Mueller, and brandishing a knife in a West End home on Christmas Day.
Judge Boyd ordered Sheen to return to court on July 12.
  Snowmass Village —Elk Camp recreation area open to publicThe Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass opened for its first summer of operations last month, providing access to a new recreation center that includes hiking and biking trails and connections to the mountain’s existing trail network. Elk Camp Meadows also includes a climbing wall, fishing, disc golf, nature walks and lunch on the deck at Café Suzanne.

The new summer recreation area is part of the Aspen Skiing Co.’s effort to attract more people to the resort during summer. Lift-served summer recreation, particularly mountain biking, is big business through the mountains of Colorado.
 A ticket is required to ride the gondola up to Elk Camp Meadows, except for those who bought a Premier Pass last winter. There is an additional fee for transporting mountain bikes up that applies to all, including passholders.  Timberline to add amenitiesThe Timberline Condominium Association has received approval to construct a new athletic club facility, spa and pool that its managers hope to have completed in time for the ski season. The proposal includes a replacement pool with spas located near both the ski run and within a private courtyard. Also included is a new 1,137-square-foot exercise building with lockers and a steam room.

Snowmass Town Council voted 4-1 in favor, with John Wilkinson dissenting, to approve the project, now that public ski access and easement issues have been satisfied. The easements involve a land swap with the Laurelwood. Timberline also must work with Aspen Skiing Co. on landscaping to be placed between the facility and the ski hill.

Accused Anderson Ranch embezzler pleads guiltyA former employee of Anderson Ranch Arts Center pled guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Snowmass Village nonprofit.

Marlana Lu Howell, 49, agreed to a plea bargain where she is guilty of one count of felony theft, a charge that carries between two and six years in prison and $2,000 and $500,000 in fines. She also has agreed to pay Anderson Ranch $178,500 in restitution.
 In exchange for pleading guilty, 32 other counts relating to the embezzlement, which occurred over 16 months beginning in 2008, will be dropped. The restitution amount is less than she embezzled, according to the district attorney’s office.

Howell will be sentenced Aug. 2. The plea deal won’t be finalized until the judge signs off and she is sentenced.
 Proposed rule change for sled dogs falls short of hopesThe state department that regulates working animals, including sled dogs, is poised to change the rules governing standards of care, but not enough to satisfy local reformers unhappy with treatment of dogs at Snowmass Village’s Krabloonik restaurant and kennel. State rules currently allow sled dog operations to keep their animals tethered 24/7. The Department of Agriculture’s draft regulations call for sledding operations to have an off-season training regimen for dogs, but don’t specifically mandate they be taken off their tethers.

Voices of Krabloonik, a group formed to better the treatment of sled dogs at Krabloonik, has been working for a mandate for dogs to be untethered for at least 60 minutes per day.
  Basalt —Town Council signs off on river centerThe Roaring Fork Conservancy's plans for a river center won conceptual approval from the Basalt Town Council, which overcame its initial objections to the facility's size.  The unanimous vote means the river center may eventually be 8,432 square feet, if all three phases of the building plan are executed. The building, designed by Harry Teague, will be located on Two Rivers Road between the Taqueria el Nopal building and Old Pond Park.Council members asked that the building be relocated to facilitate access to the town pond. “The building creates somewhat of a barrier,” said Councilman Pete McBride, who urged improved visual access to the pond as people approach the site from town.

Pulling in the setbacks but still maintaining the size of the building will be difficult, Teague said, though council members voiced no qualms about expanding the portion of the building that has a second floor. The building's height, at its tallest, matches the false front on the Taqueria building next door.
  Pitkin County —County struggles with expansion proposal in LenadoA Lenado landowner seeking to double the size of his 1,700-square-foot home has hit a road block in the Pitkin County approval process that may leave him with no options for redevelopment.  Daniel Delano, a longtime resident of Lenado, entered an agreement with five others to purchase a single parcel in 1996. Under the so-called “Lenado Six Agreement” they owned the land collectively, with each being allowed to build or maintain a home. Much of the property was placed under a conservation easement now controlled by Aspen Valley Land Trust. The total area of the six homes exceeds the county’s 5,750-square-footage per parcel limit. So, under county regulations, Delano is required to purchase a transferable development right or receive an exemption from the county’s growth management allotment in order to expand his home.

Delano argued in a letter to the commissioners that TDRs are meant for well-heeled second homeowners, not locals with modest income and financial resources like him. He says each homeowner on the Lenado parcel should be allowed to rebuild their home to as large as 5,750 square feet.

The county commissioners are reluctant to meet Delano’s request however, because they fear that it will set a precedent for home expansions on other communally-owned parcels around the county, such as the T-Lazy 7 Ranch.

County Attorney John Ely confirmed that granting the addition would change the application of county land use code in such cases.  “It would affect similarly situated properties elsewhere,” he said.
 Pitkin County per capita income declinesA Forbes magazine analysis reveals that the per capita income of people moving into Pitkin County in 2008 was approximately $30,000, while the per capita of people moving out was more than twice that at $71,500. 

The data comes from 2008 tax return information filed by 962 individuals and families who left the county and 1,127 who moved in.

The Forbes report confirms the local trend of Aspen residents moving down the Roaring Fork Valley to more affordable areas. For example, 224 people, with an average income of $79,800, moved from Pitkin County to Garfield County in 2008, while 128 taxpayers with an average income of $30,400 moved from Garfield to Pitkin County.

That trend, of high-income individuals and families moving out of the most tony and exclusive ZIP codes to more affordable neighboring communities, is common throughout the most expensive areas of the country.
 Assistance fund faces shortfallPitkin County’s Emergency Assistance Fund has less than $10,000 remaining.  Demand for public assistance has skyrocketed regionally this year, and the county spent the $20,000 it originally budgeted for 2010 in just three months. The commissioners allotted another $20,000 in May, more than half of which has already been spent.
The emergency money comes out of the county’s Healthy Community Fund and goes to county residents on a case-by-case basis, mostly these days to help locals at risk of losing their homes and possibly ending up on the streets. The county is doling out smaller portions of money for now, in the hopes of making the remaining amount last.
Posted by gary on July 08, 2010 in

Land Title's May, 2010 Summary of Pitkin County Property Sales

Land Title's May, 2010 Summary of Pitkin County Property Sales
Summary for the month of May 
  • $81,899,335 – total dollar volume – an increase of 27% from May 2009
  • 44 – total transactions – a decrease of 2% from May 2009
  • Year to date through May, dollar volume totals $458,426,532, an increase of 12.45% from same timeframe of 2009
  • YTD through May, transaction totals 294, an increase of 3.52% from same time period 2009
  • 21 transactions and $52.8 million took place in Aspen, 14 transactions and $8.6 million were interval units, 8 transactions and $17.9 million were in Snowmass, and 1 transaction for $2.7 million took place in Old Snowmass
  • There was one sale for the month in Pitkin County (Aspen) where a bank was listed as a grantor totaling $750,000, accounting for less than 1% of the total volume
  • For the year, there have been a total of 3 bank owned sales in Pitkin County, totaling $1.6 million, .35% of the total volume
  • The average single family sold price through May is $4.136 million, a decrease of 16% from full year 2009
  • The median single family sold price through May is $4.1 million, an increase of 30% from full year 2009
    • Please refer to page 4 of the PDF for additional detail by area and property type
  • Fractional activity for the month totaled $8.6 million, an increase of 10% over May 2009
  • Fractional transactions totaled 14, a decrease of 18% from May 2009
    • Residences at Little Nell – 5, Ritz Carlton at Highlands – 3, Hyatt Grand Aspen – 3, Residences at Snowmass Club – 2, Timbers - 1
  • YTD through May, fractional dollars total $37.5 million, a decrease of 72% from same time period 2009
  • YTD through May, fractional transactions total 71, a decrease of 52% from same time period 2009
Posted by gary on July 05, 2010 in

Significant Aspen Real Estate Closings - June 19 through June 25, 2010

Significant Aspen Real Estate Closings - June 19 through June 25, 2010

Moore Exemption, Lot A

McLain Flats Road, Aspen


Eastwood, Lot 2



Lot 3, Section 27, Township 8


Residences at the Little Nell, Unit F300




Posted by gary on July 05, 2010 in