Durant Condominiums, Unit 102-A
Three bedrooms/Two baths
$1,177 per square foot
Asking price $1,345,000
96% of asking price
Photo by: Gary Feldman
Durant Condominiums, Unit 102-A
Three bedrooms/Two baths
$1,177 per square foot
Asking price $1,345,000
96% of asking price
Photo by: Gary Feldman
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 …
Exclusive — An interview with Snowmass Mayor Bill Boineau
– Aspen Street hotel proposal under review
– Willits lofts may be freed of deed restrictions
Village — Related Cos. acquire Base Village for $90 million
County – Study calls for 100s of new affordable housing units
Mayor: Snowmass Village a place worth
taking a risk
The Observer interviewed Snowmass Village Mayor Bill Boineau
for perspective on Related Cos. acquisition of Base Village on Sept. 27. The
$90 million deal represents a major milestone both for the development, much of
which remains to be completed, and for the community which has been waiting for
Related Colorado President Dwayne Romero has said the
company plans to begin work right away on the project, which has vesting rights
The Observer: The
community has been waiting a long time for the Base Village situation to
resolve itself. That appears to be happening now. What are you hearing around
town from various people about the deal?
I believe there is a positive feeling out there right now. With certain things
like Base Village and Westin Snowmass moving forward, there is a sense that
Snowmass Village is a place where its worth taking a risk. The growth and
redevelopment potential is here.
we want to make sure that all of this is more than just a real estate deal.
We’ve got a hellauva mountain community here, with amazing people and assets,
that needs to be front and center.
The Observer: Things
have changed dramatically with the economy since Base Village was approved in
2004. What do the economic changes mean for the community and this development?
I think the owners of Base Village and the community are ready to have this
conversation, to understand how the world has changed with respect to this
need to question whether the assumptions that we made prior to 2004 still hold
water. Or, has there been a large change in what resorts are today in
comparison? We need to ask what we’re looking for as residents and for our
The Observer: What do you see
happening in relation to Base Village in the short term?
I think Related is going to do some things, like selling the Viceroy units as
originally intended, and fixing building 7 to make the guest experience better.
We also have to
recognize the developer will want some changes to the PUD, that they may have
some thoughts possible about changes in the development. We need have a
dialogue to develop understanding of what needs to happen from the developer’s
and the community’s perspective.
Street hotel proposal in front of P&Z
Aspen Street Owner, the Boston-based investment group that owns the 2.4-acres
on South Aspen Street below Lift 1A, has applied to build a 76-room hotel and
35 condominiums in three buildings.
developer is proposing 169,975 square feet above-grade, about 36,000 square
feet more than a proposal City Council rejected in 2009. The hotel rooms would
average 550 square feet, while the condos would average around 2,400 square
would reach 60 feet, above the 40-foot maximum allowed in that zone district
with special approval. The developer is also seeking exemptions from affordable
housing requirements, with a plan that includes dorm-style and one-bedroom
units on-site, and three-bedroom units at the Aspen Business Center. The plan
to house 43 employees covers just under half the number required for a project
the hotel is not approved, the developers are vested for 14 free market
townhomes or condominiums.
Government not a bank, and elderly not a threat
Officials from Aspen, Pitkin County and
the Housing Authority met last month to talk about big issues affecting the
affordable housing program, including capital funding and how to deal with
non-working retirees who live in housing.
With capital funding, the consensus was
that affordable housing is a community resource that needs to be protected from
deterioration, but structural repairs and infrastructure upkeep is primarily
the responsibility of homeowners. One idea aimed at helping homeowners save for
big ticket repairs and upkeep was a program where incentives are made available
for HOAs that follow capital reserve plans prescribed by the housing authority.
Staff was directed to explore the idea further, and report back.
Officials agreed that the impending
retirement of Baby Boomers should not be treated as a threat to the housing
supply. They also decided not to offer the elderly incentives to leave their
affordable housing units when they retire, because it would send the wrong
message to the community.
On Oct. 11, officials will reconvene to
discuss governance and the program’s relationship with social service
City takes on 10 separate parks
Aspen City Council approved a $5.2
million bond issue to finance park projects around town. The bonding authority
was approved by voters more than a decade ago.
and replanting Wagner Park;
the Sky Mountain Park/Droste acquisition;
new pond at the golf course;
new pedestrian bridge across Maroon Creek;
public restrooms, plus storm water, irrigation and pumping improvements in Rio
space planning for Phase Two of the Burlingame Ranch affordable housing;
open space purchases, including the Lindsay Parcel on Smuggler Mountain.
may be greenest in Aspen
roof of the new Spring Building features purple sage, Indian blanket, sweet
William, coral bells, day lily, Russian sage, bearded iris, lemon thyme,
coreopsis, coneflower, goldenrod and feather reed grass. Solar panels were
mixed in with the garden to provide hot water for domestic use throughout the
building. Thirteen geothermal wells will help heat and cool the commercial
portion of the building.
The building, at the corner of Spring Street and Hopkins Avenue, has received accolades from city officials and others in the community. It was developed by Michael Rudin and his development company, Rudin West LLC.
Snowmass Village —
Related Cos. takes control of Base
Related Cos. closed on a $90 million deal for Base Village,
acquiring title to the Viceroy Snowmass hotel, unsold Capitol Peak and Hayden
Lodge residences, the Arrival Center, parking garage and various retail units
and undeveloped parcels. The deal settles all lawsuits between the company and
the consortium of four European banks that held the note on the project.
Related Colorado President Dwayne Romero told The Observer
that unsold Viceroy condominiums will be marketed this fall and winter, and at
least some of the nine developer-owned Capitol Peak and Hayden Lodge residences
will also be offered.
Improvements are expected to begin very soon at the Arrival
Center, with an eye toward removing traffic and drop-off pressure from Carriage
Way this winter.
“Mini-roundabout” may be coming from
Snowmass Village is studying the
possibility of a mini-roundabout, similar in design to roundabouts in southern
Europe, at the intersection of Brush Creek Road and Owl Creek Road. Such a project would preclude the need for new
retaining walls and relocation of utility lines and drop the cost to less than
$200,000. The initial estimate for a full-size roundabout at that intersection
was $2.4 million.
Snowmass-Burnt Mountain expansion on
U.S. Justice Department is in negotiations with a Wyoming-based a nonprofit
group over the Aspen Skiing Co. plan to open three trails on Burnt Mountain.
proposed expansion area, 230 acres in total, is a longtime favorite of
backcountry skiers and snowboarders. Skico hopes to make it part of the
Snowmass Ski Area, with oversight from ski patrol and avalanche control.
Ark Initiative alleges that the Forest Service erroneously omitted between 600
and 1,000 acres of Burnt Mountain from the inventoried roadless area. The group
has been working against ski area expansion on Burnt Mountain since 2006.
may be lifted at Willits
owners at the Market Street Lofts in Willits Town Center have asked Town Council
to remove the resident occupied deed restriction, which they say is preventing
them from refinancing.
attorney Tom Smith warned that the council’s inclination to lift deed
restrictions for those units would require similar treatment for other units in
the affordable housing program, which is comprised of 34 rentals and 22
ownership units, including 13 RO units.
request split the council 4-3, with the majority saying they would consider
removing the limits. An ordinance making it so will be presented at an upcoming
Basalt signs off on
expansion plan for continuous care facility
An annexation plan proposed by the
Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, part of its plan to develop a continuous-care
retirement community in Basalt, has been found in compliance with the town
Three different types of retirement
housing — independent living, assisted-living or nursing care units — are
envisioned for the property, which located on the parcel north of Basalt High
School. In all, 144 units are planned
for the first two phases of development, with land set aside for a third phase
should demand dictate an expansion.
The continuous-care retirement community would be unlike any other in the Roaring Fork Valley, providing differing levels of care on one campus. Demand for such facilities is expected to soar as the Roaring Fork Valley's population ages.
drive-thru survives challenge
drive-through coffee shop planned at Willits Town Center survived stiff
opposition from residents to win approval from Town Council by a 4-3 vote.
Three former town council members and a member of the town’s Green Team urged the current council to reject the concept, arguing that approval would run counter to the town’s planning goals with Willits. They also pointed out that such a drive-thru would promote idling beyond the two minutes currently allowed.
Tim Belinski, leasing agent for the commercial space at Willits Town Center, countered that approving the proposal would keep the “momentum” going at the development.
sues RFTA over price in eminent domain case
Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and the Cathers family in Basalt will go
to court to determine the value of the family’s property that was seized
through eminent domain to allow for a park and ride lot that is part of the bus
system expansion. RFTA’s initial offer was about $585,000, while an appraiser
hired by the family valued the land at closer to $1 million.
collection flat in Basalt ahead of Whole Foods opening
sales tax revenues in July increased by only $53 — or 0.02 percent — in year
over year comparisons. Year-to-date, Basalt retail sales are up 4 percent for
the year. The Whole Foods effect on sales tax collection in both Basalt and
Aspen will begin to be known with the August sales tax report.
among the best in the West
Basalt came in second out of 16 cities and towns in
Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico that entered water for a taste testing at an
American Water Works Association conference at Copper Mountain. The town's
water-quality specialist delivered 2 liters of water in glass jars stored in a
cooler to the competition. The five judges treated the water like wine samples,
cleansing their palates between tastes.
Pitkin County —
Study calls for
hundreds of new affordable housing units
A recently released housing study says
that local income distribution, gathered from U.S. Census data, and
housing-lottery demand indicates 657 affordable housing units need to be
developed in the next decade to keep up with demand. And most of them, the
report says, need to be priced for low and moderate income earners.
The study cites estimates of future job
growth, gentrification and the growing number of retirees living in affordable
housing as cause for concern in the coming years.
There is enough publicly owned land to accommodate 377 of the units; the remaining 280 would have to be accounted for through other means.
Shield-O open space deal falls through
Pitkin County’s contract to purchase
114 acres in the Shield-O subdivision in Old Snowmass, for $475,000, plus
$194,000 in back taxes, has fallen through.
Open space planners hoped to build a
new trail that would run through Shield-O to existing public trails at the
Windstar Nature Preserve. But Windstar is for sale, and the board that oversees
the property declined to allow a new trail.
The open space program has successfully
purchased two other parcels — property adjacent to the Wingo Junction boat ramp
and Gold Butte rock climbing area.
Windstar on the
market for $13.5 million
Windstar Land Conservancy is seeking to sell the 957-acre nature preserve
created by John Denver, with a 30-acre activity envelope where single-family
home can be built. A conservation easement would remain in place on 927 acres.
The asking price is $13.5 million.
might be asked to amend the conservation easement to allow for limited
trailhead parking on the 30-acre parcel, which would make it easy for the
public to continue to a hike and horseback ride on the land.
from the sale will be split by the two nonprofit groups that control the land,
the Windstar Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Institute. The Windstar
Foundation board plans to give its half of the money from a sale of the land to
local organizations doing work consistent with Denver’s vision and then shut
bought the property in the late 1970s to create “a place up in the mountains
where people would come to develop a critical consciousness in regard to the
earth,” according to his autobiography.
ABC challenging airport design plan
John McBride and Rob Snyder, who,
respectively, own and manage the Aspen Business Center across Highway 82 from
the Pitkin County Airport, are challenging many of the premises in the
yet-to-be-adopted airport master plan, including the proposed
80,000-square-foot, $120.8 million airport terminal.
They take issue with the use of national trends, retail sales and other non-facility-related factors to predict that passenger growth will reach 336,500 in 2022, up from 214,800 in 2000. Passenger traffic to and from Aspen peaked in the mid-1990s.
They are also critical of a parking
plan that promotes car use over public transportation, and question whether the
market can support a second fixed-base operator, which is planned on the Owl
Creek side of the facility.
Airport Director Jim Elwood says the 80,000 square-footage number is a “space reservation,” and that approving the master plan does not assure construction will actually occur.
But Snyder and McBride point out that the master plan contains documents mapping out five phases of construction for the new terminal beginning in 2013 and finishing in 2017. The plan is currently before the county Planning and Zoning Commission.
develops new fee program
County Assessor Tom Isaac announced a new program that allows regular access to
Assessor’s Office records for a monthly fee.
Patrons who pay $35 a month, or $350 a year, will be allowed unlimited
access to in-depth record searches. Previously, people were required to pay $60
every time they wanted such data.
Isaac said the old system generated about $5,000 annually for the county, an amount he doesn’t expect to change much with the new system. Mainline data like ownership of an individual property, recent sales history, and size will continue to be free.
locals want dog-friendly housing
affordable housing is a real need, according to a number of the 20-to-40 year
olds at the Aspen Democracy Initiative’s roundtable discussion on the housing
pointed out that dog owners who otherwise qualify for affordable housing are
forced to rent on the free market, paying a premium to house their pets.
Suggested solutions include allowing dogs at new housing like Phase II
Burlingame, or removing restrictions at existing projects.
group was split over the need for “family-friendly” units, with young couples
and parents wanting more units designed with their families in mind, while
others in that demographic wished for more units where “you can’t hear babies
crying through the walls.”
rebates to its solar incentive programs
The Community Office of Resource
Efficiency (CORE) is offering new incentives and rebates for solar energy
installations. CORE is expanding its rebate program to support leasing of solar
panels, which is more affordable than purchasing. The rebates can run as high
as $2,000. There are also new rebate options for work on solar water-heating
systems. The program is open to residents and businesses in the Roaring Fork,
Frying Pan and Crystal river valleys.
RFTA board split
over Rio Grande Trail closure
majority of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority board of directors voted
in favor of closing the Rio Grande Trail between Rock Bottom Ranch and
Catherine Store Bridge on Nov. 15, two weeks earlier than the current policy.
But the five votes were not enough for the super majority needed to make it
stretch in question is replete with bald eagles, blue herons and other
wildlife. Wildlife biologist Jonathan Lowsky believes the earlier closure would
help the birds establish nests ahead of winter. It also would benefit mule
deer, according to his report to RFTA.
staff recommended against the change, noting that the public has behaved well
to the existing closure dates.
gets expansion OK
Market has been approved to expand its Aspen Business Center grocery store to
more than 10,000 square feet. While it will be substantially smaller than both
City Market and Clark's, the expansion will allow a larger deli and more food
Hyrup Feed &
Ranch, longtime equestrian supplier, closes shop
Feed & Ranch Supply — a longtime
supplier of feed for horses, dogs and other animals — closed for good lat month.
Steve and Kris Hyrup’s store in El Jebel, was a must-stop for legions of
devoted customers over the last 25 years. The couple said that it was time to
move on, spurred perhaps by the fact that fewer people keep horses in the
Roaring Fork Valley these days. The Carbondale Co-Op has promised to do its
best to take care of Hyrup's customers.
to purchase Planted Earth site
Rescue Aspen is under contract for the Planted Earth location across from the
airport. The nonprofit plans to use it for a new headquarters and equipment
storage. Planted Earth owner Bill Hawkins will consolidate his business and
inventory to his location in Carbondale.