of the government and business activity over the last month, with particular
focus on issues and items that are important to the Real Estate community.
Inside this month’s Observer …
– Council wants a lodge at Lift 1A, not townhomes
Village – No Little Nell planned for Snowmass …
– Valley Road reroute moves ahead over protests …
County – County lifts housing restrictions for Stapleton house restoration …
News – CAR study –
Economic Impact of Real Estate in Colorado – available online …
Council wants lodge, not townhomes on South
Aspen City Council would prefer to see
a new lodge below Lift 1A on South Aspen Street, rather than the townhome
project currently under review.
Councilman Adam Frisch suggested that City Council work with the developer to
make the possibility of a lodge more likely. Mayor Mick Ireland agreed that a
middle ground that could be found, and both the developer and the city
would benefit with further discussions.
David Parker, a representative for the
applicant, said they spent a year trying to come up with a viable plan for
lodging before submitting the current proposal for 14 free market townhomes and
affordable housing on the vacant, 2.4 acre parcel. It passed on first reading
with a 3-1 vote.
exceptions to 28-foot rule
Mick Ireland has some ideas about what should be allowed in taller buildings
downtown. At City Council's discretion, he says the following conditions should
n A building exceeding the 28-foot limit
must contain hot beds, and retail and service-industry businesses;
n It must be consistent with scale and
mass of the surrounding neighborhood;
n Mountain views from streets and
sidewalks must be preserved;
n No condominiums or free-market
Ireland wants to end affordable-housing credits for existing employees at
buildings that are being redeveloped, unless those employees have already been
accounted for in a previous mitigation agreement.
He also wants to eliminate a provision that allows a developer of a mixed-use
building to mitigate for only one of the two uses.
public input about height exemptions
city of Aspen is using its website and community meetings to solicit ideas for
possible exemptions to the recently adopted 28-foot height limit for new
buildings in downtown Aspen. Comments can be left on www.aspenpitkin.com, by clicking on the
link in the middle of the page that says, “Open City Hall” and follow
directions from there.
caterer forgiven for zoning and housing violations
City Council exempted the Eagles Club
and Conundrum Catering from having to pay between $400,000 and $500,000 in
affordable housing fees. The catering company has leased the Eagle’s kitchen
for the last 12 years, in violation of both zoning and the housing rules. Council
is expected to pass a code amendment that names the Eagles as the only
exception to the ban on commercial rentals in essential public facilities.
Builder ordered to bring home into
compliance with zoning
Builder John Olson was ordered to find
a way to bring a nearly finished home on Ute Avenue into compliance with city
height limits. The building department issued a red tag on the project after an
inspection revealed that the building exceeds the 25-foot limit in two places.
A sunken patio may be the cause behind the noncompliance.
Aspen Athletic Club building up for
Plans before City Council call for the
conversion of office spaces in the Aspen Athletic Club building into three
residential units and a rooftop deck. The building was built in 1976, designed
by Aspen architect Robin Molny, a student of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. A public hearing is set for June 11.
Commercial retail core fully rented
Commercial retail leasing in downtown
Aspen continues to show signs of recovery, with nearly every available location
accounted for. In the summer of 2011, the retail space vacancy rate was between
2 and 5 percent, while in 2010 it was nearly 10 percent.
taxes up for 14th straight month
tax revenues in Aspen posted a gain for the 14th consecutive month, with a 1
percent gain in March over the same period last year. The construction industry
posted the highest percentage increase, at 32 percent. Sales of luxury goods
declined the most, down 37 percent.
Hala Ranch sells for $49 million
120-acre luxury Starwood estate developed by Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi
Arabia, sold Thursday for $49 million, one of the largest real estate
transactions in Pitkin County history.
The buyer is identified as Starwood Mountain Ranch LLC. The corporation
purchased “lot 1” on the property for $8 million, and “lot 2” for $41 million.
The sale includes the 95-acre Hala Ranch and a neighboring 35-acre parcel.
recommends restaurant in historic cabin
The Historic Preservation Commission
recommended approval of a new restaurant in the A.G. Sheppard building at the corner
of Hopkins Ave. and Monarch Str. The former miner’s cabin, one of the oldest in
Aspen, was built in 1883. Hillstone Restaurant Group of Beverly Hills plans an
exhibition cooking area, a small bar and seating for 51 patrons in the
New water ordinance addresses drought
expected, City Council adopted an ordinance to encourage water conservation and
penalize overuse in the event of a water shortage. The ordinance defines three
levels of drought and the various rules and penalties that would go into effect
in each case to reduce use.
City may codify
transportation mitigation rules
The Community Development department is
seeking funding and authorization from City Council to develop reliable data on
transit and transportation impacts of development, and write clear guidelines
for mitigation. Currently, mitigation plans are developed on a case-by-case
basis that don’t really address the impacts or community needs, says Chris
Bendon, Community Development director.
North Mill Street redesign proposed
Major changes under consideration for
North Mill Street would result in narrower lanes, wider sidewalks and new
bicycle lanes on either side of the street. The preferred concept presented to
City Council last month would also add three pedestrian-activated signal
crossings. North Mill Street, from Main Street to where it splits at Gibson
Avenue and Red Mountain Road, is one of the busiest streets in town.
Blue Vic, Pink
House and others awarded for historic preservation work
Historic Preservation Commission honored three design teams and an artist for
their historic preservation work. They include:
n Stage Fine Homes, Scott Smith
Architects, J.D. Black Construction, Shannon Murphy Landscape Architects,
Lacroux Streeb, Lynni Hutton, Inc. and KL&A Structural Engineers for
restoring the “Blue Vic” at 202 N. Monarch Street, built in 1886.
n Austin Lawrence Partners, Rowland +
Broughton Architecture and Urban Design, John Olson Builder, Binbilla
Landscaping, Haas Land Planning and Alpine Bank for restoring the Crandall
Building at 630 E. Hyman Ave., built in 1969 and designed by Tom Benton in
n Ann Mullins, 1 Friday Design and Lone
Pine Construction for preservation of “The Pink House” at 216 E. Hyman, a
Victorian-era property once owned by Darcy and Ruth Brown.
n Gaard Moses, an Aspen-area resident
since 1966, was honored with the Elizabeth Paepcke Award for stewardship of
Aspen's historic murals and signs as well as his original artwork.
Aspen Skiing Co. non-committal to Little
The final iteration of Base Village may
not include the Little Nell Snowmass, a five-star, five-diamond hotel that was
planned by the Aspen Skiing Co. The license agreement terminated in late 2010,
when the project was in bankruptcy, and the Skico has not recommitted to the
adds top executives to Westin Snowmass team
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has added Tim
Johnson and Scott Cochran to its senior leadership team at the new Westin
Snowmass Resort, slated to open later this year. Johnson will be in charge of
sales and marketing; Cochran food and beverage.
Snowmass Village resident takes on
Paul Jallifer has sued for injunctive relief against Capital One bank in Pitkin
County District Court, alleging the financial institution does not have a clear
chain of title to his former residence near Snowmass Village.
Jallifer’s case says documentation the bank produced to prove ownership lacked
an endorsement date, and the promissory note was a photocopy with a “stamped”
signature that gave no indication of the signer’s relationship to Capital One
or Chevy Chase Bank, the original lender. He is also arguing that the federal
bailout of banks negates its claims of loss.
moves ahead with controversial road plan in El Jebel
vigorous protests and very little support for a plan to reroute Valley Road in
El Jebel through Crown Mountain Park and closer to the Sopris Village
neighborhood, the Eagle County Commissioners moved ahead with approvals that
would result in the changes.
Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District’s proposal to build a 161,000 square
foot recreation facility and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s new
90-car park and ride lot at the site of the former Mermaid restaurant are
driving the need for major road and intersection redesigns.
moving ahead with relocation plans
from the Rocky Mountain Institute said they expect to submit development plans
for a new headquarters in Basalt by the end of the year. RMI officials last
year signed an option contract with Basalt to buy .55 acres of downtown land
adjacent to Old Town Park, site of the restaurant Tacqueria el Nopal.
to speed up Pan and Fork review process
Basalt officials want to speed up the land use review
process for redevelopment of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park. Town manager
Bill Kane told Town Council that the property needs different treatment because
it's owned by a nonprofit that is a partner with the town.
The Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. is proposing to build about
112,000 square feet of retail, residential and office space as well as a hotel.
The town owns half of the trailer park property, which will eventually become a
park along the Roaring Fork River.
Foods on track for summer opening
real estate investment firm that bought Willits Town Centre last year is ahead
of schedule for completion of the building that will house Whole Foods Market,
thanks in part to the warm weather last winter. Whole Foods is currently
completing the interior, and expects a mid-August opening.
Pitkin County —
approval lifts housing restriction in exchange for restoration
County agreed to lift affordable housing restrictions and approve a new 5,750
square foot house on 5-acres along Owl Creek Road. In exchange, the developer
will restore a historic ranch house built by the Stapleton family in the early
The William E. Stapleton house, built in 1913, is in a highly visible locale.
It was dedicated as affordable housing under a previous development approval,
but has sat empty for years. Once restored, it will serve as a caretaker’s
house for the larger home that will be built on the parcel.
ACRA board members pledge support to
Aspen Chamber Resort Association board
members promised to support redevelopment of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport as
a counter to critics who have forced the airport administration to scale back
Negative public feedback resulted in significant
reductions the underground parking garage and new private airplane
hangars. The plan currently calls for a new 80,000-square-foot terminal, a
750-car underground parking garage, and a fixed-based operator facility on the
Owl Creek side of the airport.
ACRA board member and Aspen Skiing Co. vice president David Perry urged
business leaders to rapidly respond to criticism of the plan.
recommends denial of Shadow Mountain home
Pitkin County planning and zoning commission recommended denial of a house
proposed for the lower slopes of Shadow Mountain, on property once owned by
The application seeks to divide a collection of mining claims into three lots
in order to create a 1.6-acre site for a 7,500-square-foot single-family home
on a bench of land above W. Hopkins Ave. and Fourth Str. The second parcel of
18 acres would be deeded to the county as open space. The third 10-acre lot,
which was subdivided and sold several years ago, contains the former Gramiger
house on West Hopkins Ave.
County staff also recommends denial because the home site is in a rock fall
area and the driveway encroaches slopes exceeding a 45 percent grade. The
county also maintains that Gramiger's sale of the 10 acre-parcel with his house
was an illegal subdivision of the land and the remaining acreage has no
X Games here for
two more years
announcement that ESPN’s Winter X Games will be hosted at Buttermilk for at
least two more years ended months of speculation that the games might be
leaving. The latest contract runs through 2014.
numbers down 1.8 percent last season
Aspen Skiing Co.’s skier visits slipped
1.8 percent during the winter of 2011-12 over last year. Season pass use was
down. Skier visits at Aspen Highlands fared the worst of all four mountains.
Buttermilk, however, saw a bump up in skier visits, in part because of the new
high-speed Tiehack chairlift.
appears to have fared better than most ski areas around the country and the
state. Colorado Ski Country USA will release final statewide skier visit
figures on June 6.
County poised to pass pot rules
Pitkin County officials expect to adopt
state-mandated licensing regulations for medical marijuana operations by July
1. The county is considering a new licensing authority and a fee of $1,000 per