November 2012

Aspen Sale November 26, 2012

Aspen Sale November 26, 2012

Aspen Alps Condominiums, #215



Three bedrooms/three baths

$1,066 per square foot

Asking price $1,599,000

80% of asking price

Photo by: Gary Feldman 

Posted by gary on November 28, 2012 in

Aspen Sale November 9, 2012

Aspen Sale November 9, 2012

Obermeyer Place Condominiums



Three bedrooms/three baths

$1,482 per square foot

Asking price $3,750,000

81% of asking price

Photo by: Gary Feldman 

Posted by gary on November 28, 2012 in

Aspen Sale November 19. 2012

Aspen Sale November 19. 2012

410 Lacet Lane



Building Site

Asking price $2,695,000

89% of asking price

Photo by: Gary Feldman 

Posted by gary on November 24, 2012 in

Aspen Sale November 13, 2012

Aspen Sale November 13, 2012

Starwood, Lot 55

McLain Flats, Aspen


Building Site

Asking price $1,975,000

98% of asking price

Photo by: Gary Feldman 

Posted by gary on November 17, 2012 in

Snowmass Village Sale November 9, 2012

Snowmass Village Sale November 9, 2012

95 Trail Rider Lane

Horse Ranch


Four bedrooms/four baths

$566 per square foot

Asking price $2,350,000

87% of asking price

Photo by: Gary Feldman 

Posted by gary on November 12, 2012 in

Aspen Sale November 6, 2012

Aspen Sale November 6, 2012

1215 East Hopkins Avenue

East Aspen


Five bedrooms/four baths

$1,020 per square foot

Asking price $5,595,000

95% of asking price

Photo by: Gary Feldman 

Posted by gary on November 07, 2012 in

Aspen Board of Realtors Observer - November 2012

Aspen Board of Realtors Observer - November 2012

ABOR Observer

November 2012


A rundown 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 …

                Aspen – Skico CEO Mike Kaplan urges land use flexibility for hotel developers …

                Snowmass Village – Alpine Bank selling commercial spaces to local businesses …

                Basalt – Hyatt looking at 120 room hotel in Basalt …

                Pitkin County – Ordinance allows government to change addresses …



Aspen —

SkiCo CEO calls for more hotels in core

Aspen Skiing Co. CEO Mike Kaplan told City Council that the resort will lose its competitive advantage without new affordable hotel rooms, and suggested that land use rules be loosened up to foster development.

Mayor Mick Ireland said the city could support development of new hotels by exempting developers from some restrictions designed to discourage free-market residential units in the commercial core. It remains unclear, however, exactly what types of hotel projects would qualify or what provisions in the land use code would be relaxed to promote such development.


Kaplan urged Council to imagine what three 100-room hotels would look like if they were built in town. Where would they go? What would the foot print of such buildings look like?

Housing mitigation fees may double

Aspen is moving forward on an ordinance to roughly double cash-in-lieu fees developers pay when they choose not to build affordable housing with their projects.


Currently, cash-in-lieu fees range from $139,890 to $283,864 per employee unit, depending on the income category of the unit involved. A recent study indicates the actual construction or purchase cost of such units is between $275,566 and $534,923.

The city, county and housing department are considering a new equation that incorporates property values and income statistics to determine the gap between the market prices and the amount locals can afford to pay. The so-called market gap approach is used in other resort towns to determine mitigation and has withstood legal challenges.


EPA calls for more outreach to residents in former Superfund site

The Environmental Protection Agency recently ruled that Aspen and Pitkin County need to be more frequent with their reminders to property owners at the base of Smuggler Mountain about hazards on former Superfund lands in the area. Local governments had been sending a letter every five years to property owners explaining that high concentrations of lead and other heavy metals remain in the soil from the mining era, a special permit is required if more than 1 cubic yard of dirt is to be excavated. The EPA directed that the letter be sent out annually.

Longtime retailers, others relocating out of Ute City Bank building

Bloomingbirds, a staple in the Ute City Bank building for 33 years, is moving to the the Kandykom building on Hopkins Ave., and the Optical Shop, a 40-year Aspen business and neighbor of Bloomingbirds, is expected to reopen in new location by winter. Faboo and Aspen Denim Exchange have both moved out of the Ute City building as well. Faboo, a European-style clothing store, is relocating to the courtyard level of 205 S. Mill Street.

Commercial broker Ruth Kruger said the owner of the Ute City building plans substantial changes to the building sometime after this winter season. Burberry, the anchor tenant in the prominent corner space, and Wind River Gallery are staying on with long-term leases.


Third story on Cooper Avenue Mall designed to protect Red Onion

Stan Clauson, the land-use consultant representing owners of the historic Red Onion building, says his clients are not seeking variances to the city’s rules with their plans to redevelop the retail property next door and build a free market condo on top.

The free-market condo, which would take up the second and third floors adjacent to the restaurant, is proposed at less than 2,000 square feet, and on the third level will be set back 45 feet from the building’s front facade. The setback between the first and second floor is 15 feet from the front, to protect the vertical Red Onion letters painted on the east side of the building which houses the historic bar and restaurant.

The Historic Preservation Commission signed off with conceptual approval on the project. If it is approved by City Council, work is expected to begin in the spring.

Gap redevelopment continues under Hunt ownership

Chicago businessman and real estate developer Mark Hunt, reportedly one of the principals behind the purchase of The Gap building, is continuing with plans for redevelopment of the longtime clothing retail site. The $13.25 million deal closed near the end of last month. Redevelopment plans include transforming the building and parking lot next door into street-level retail spaces, and adding second-level restaurant space with a large outdoor deck.

The land-use application is scheduled for final review by the HPC on Dec. 12. City Council approval is not required under the proposal.


Aspen-Snowmass cool with younger set, not so with older skiers

Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands collectively were named the best resort in North America in a reader survey by Transworld Snowboarding, a top magazine covering the sport of snowboarding. Meanwhile editors of Freeskier ranked Aspen-Snowmass as the second best resort in North America, after Whistler Blackomb in British Columbia. Both magazines have large under-40 readerships.


Readers of the more staid SKI magazine weren’t as generous. Aspen, Snowmass and Highlands all rank among the top 20 resorts in North America, but none in the top echelon. Snowmass ranked eighth, dropping four slots from last year. Aspen Mountain slipped one place to number 12. Aspen Highlands rose to 16th overall. Vail, by contrast, was number two in the poll.


Forbes: 81611 is 13th most expensive ZIP in country

Forbes magazine has named 81611 one of America’s most expensive ZIP codes in the country, 13th overall. The ranking is based on residential listing prices between June 28 and Aug. 28 this year. The top three were 10065 – New York, N.Y.; 07620 – Alpine, N.J.; and 94027 – Atherton, Calif.

Aspen and Snowmass Village post August sales tax gains

Aspen’s August sales tax collections and retail sales were up 4 percent compared to the same month in 2011. Year to date, retail sales are 8 percent higher than they were during the first eight months of 2011.


Snowmass Village sales tax collections were up nearly 8 percent in August year over year. Sales tax revenues there are up 6.5 percent for the year.

Real Estate Transfer Tax up sharply in September

With more than $56 million in real estate closings, September has been the biggest month of 2012 for real estate transfer tax collections that support the Wheeler Opera House and the daycare and housing funds. The 1.5 percent tax brought in $845,000, making the total amount garnered this year just over $3.8 million.


Single family home now part of the Jewish Center plan

The plan for the Chabad Jewish Community Center, under construction on the 400 block of W. Main Street, is evolving to include a 3,500-square-foot home for Rabbi Mendel Mintz. The change request is set to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission. The house would replace another, larger building that has already been approved.


Affordable restaurant sought for high-end building

Under terms of a settlement that allowed redevelopment of the Cooper Street Pier building, the downstairs must be rented to a food or drinking establishment at no more than 75 percent of the free-market rental rate. Building managers are looking for a tenant. If the space is empty for more than six months, the city has the right to propose tenants.


Brunello Cucinelli, a high-end Italian clothier, will be the first tenant in the newly opened building at 508 E. Cooper Avenue, in the street-level space. Market rates apply there.

Housing Authority spurns city, seeks developers for project

The Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority board of directors cited concerns over potential loss of control when they rejected a partnership request from the city of Aspen to redevelop a parcel at 1230 E. Cooper Street. The city is in the process of soliciting proposals from investors who are looking to develop affordable housing on publicly-owned land and asked the housing authority if they wanted to include the Cooper Street property in the mix.


The housing board chose instead to contract out redevelopment of the vacant single-family home into a multi-unit project that targets low income locals.

Developer Peter Fornell told the housing board that a developer could build low-category units and recoup costs by selling housing mitigation credits to other developers. He also argued it is not in the housing authority’s best interest to either work with the city or develop the land itself. The housing authority board agreed and will put out an RFP for the property.

Chamber proposes $1.7 million for resort marketing

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association will pitch a $1.7 million marketing budget to the Aspen City Council this month and propose a five-year extension of its contract to manage the marketing funds.


ESPN and American Airlines will see significant support from the budget, $150,000 and $75,000 respectively, as part of a deals that were made to lure them to do business here. A $170,000 allocation will be used to attract group business, particularly during the spring and fall. This year's international efforts targeted Brazil and Australia; the plan for 2013 is to reach out to the United Kingdom and Mexico.


Aspen on board with Thompson Divide effort

Aspen City Council formally backed efforts to protect the Thompson Divide area from natural gas drilling, supporting Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s proposed Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act. Energy companies that hold leases to develop the resources in the area Thompson Divide say they plan to drill, rejecting an offer by area ranchers and residents to compensate them for expenses.


Houston-based SG Interests is already taking steps to move forward in two different areas of Thompson Divide, including one in Pitkin County.


Residences settle with neighbor over construction damage

Developers of the Residences at Little Nell settled a lawsuit brought by nearby homeowners over damages resulting during construction, but still face a trial in January with a different neighbor. The ongoing dispute involves Westpac Aspen Investments formed in the mid 2000s by Pat Smith and Westpac, onetime owners of Base Village.


Judge sides with Hyatt in dispute with Grape Bar

The parent company of the Hyatt Grand Aspen on Friday won its eviction lawsuit against The Grape Bar, which shut down as soon as the ruling was issued. Grand Aspen Lodging LLC alleged that the bar was not keeping proper track of daily sales that are part of the rent calculation. Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court agreed that the tenant had failed to meet the terms of the lease. Grape Bar owner Gregg Hemming said he is looking for a new spot for his business.


Another major phase of hospital expansion up for approval

The proposed third phase of Aspen Valley Hospital's expansion centers on a two-story addition on the west side of the hospital. The 74,440-square-foot addition includes offices, a loading area, and expanded sections for surgery, emergency and imaging services. Parking will be significantly reconfigured in Phase III. Planning and Zoning will take the application up in the coming months.


Cycling race generated millions for state economy

Attendance at the 2012 USA Pro Challenge reached more than 1 million around the state between Aug. 20-26 and generated an estimated $99.6 million in economic activity. Specifically, fans traveling 50 miles or more to view an event stage contributed $81.5 million on lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. The rest came from expenditures directly tied to the event. The race drew a significant number of new visitors to the state — 53 percent of outo-of-state spectators claimed they would not have traveled to Colorado at this time if it were not for the race.


Aspen Magazine acquired by Modern Luxury group

Aspen Magazine was acquired by Modern Luxury, a luxury-lifestyle publisher of 40 titles. Janet O’Grady, who bought the magazine with her late husband Randy Beier in 1987, will remain as editor.


Modern Luxury’s titles includes city magazines in urban centers such as Manhattan, Dallas, Miami, and San Francisco; five regional bride magazines; and magazines that focus on interior design, shopping, and men’s interests.



Snowmass —

Locals offered ownership of Snowmass commercial properties

Alpine Bank has been quietly turning over ownership of commercial properties that it acquired in the recession to existing tenants or other local business owners.

The bank recently assisted with a deal to allow long-time operators of the Snowmass Resort Conoco to purchase the land underneath their station. And now Snowmass Village business owners have a chance to purchase spaces at the Offices at Snowmass, located across Brush Creek Road from the Timbers Resort.

Town Council recently approved a proposal to condominiumize the building. Units will range from the low 100s to the 500s. Four individuals have indicated they are willing to negotiate a deal.


Snowmass OKs entertainment districts

It’s legal now for bars and restaurants to team up and create common consumption areas that allow patrons to legally walk between establishments with their drinks, particularly during outdoor events. Public consumption became official and legal with the passage last month of an ordinance allowing entertainment districts in Snowmass Village.

Businesses that wish to create a common consumption area will have to form a promotional association that is certified by the Liquor Licensing Authority. They are responsible for hiring security and obtaining insurance.


Westin, Wildwood to reopen this month

Construction is wrapping up ahead of schedule on two important hotel remodels in Snowmass Village, and both the Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Lodge are set to open by Thanksgiving.

The 254-room, 17-suite Westin is “virtually sold-out” for the week after Christmas and booked solidly for early January too, according to published reports.

The Westin complex includes a mix of local business and nationally recognized brands. The hotel’s main restaurant is the Snowmass Kitchen. There is a wine bar called the Vue Lounge off the lobby. A New Belgium Brewery Ranger Station is located slopeside, where a pizza shop was located for years. Existing businesses such as Snowmass Sports, Wildflowers and the gift shop 81615 will have new neighbors, including Patagonia, North Face and, by late January, Starbucks.


SkiCo touts winter and summer enhancements

Steve Sewell, manager of Snowmass ski area, touted two big changes on the hill this winter — 230 additional acres of skiing on Burnt Mountain and the opening of the Elk Camp Restaurant — in his annual report to Town Council.

He also reported that there were twice as many people this year versus last riding the Elk Camp Gondola with bikes or taking cycling lessons. This was the third year that the company operated the gondola in summer.

Gravity Logic, the company that designed the new Valhalla downhill trail in the Elk Camp area, has created a 10-year plan for trails on the Snowmass ski area. The plan still lacks Forest Service approvals, but Sewell said the consultants think 12 to 15 trails could be added in the Elk Camp and Alpine Springs areas of the mountain.

Basalt —                   

Hyatt expresses interest in Basalt hotel project

Basalt got its first look at conceptual plans for a four story, 120-room hotel and associated development to replace the 38-unit Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park near the town center, and learned the Hyatt corporation has expressed interest in the project.

Realty Capital Management hopes to build another 15,000 square feet of shops and restaurants and approximately 20 residential units, in addition to the hotel. The plans also allow for a nonprofit campus to be built by the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp., which currently owns the trailer park.


The developer has a contract to buy 2 acres at the Pan and Fork site, contingent on Basalt issuing the land-use approvals.


County buying unit in Elk Run

Pitkin County has entered the housing market and bought a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath Columbines at Elk Run townhome. It will be used by the county for employee housing. Commissioner Rob Ittner pointed out that the commissioners have yet to decide whether it will be a rental unit or for sale, and whether it will go to a county employee or be open to the general public. Neighbors were assured that it would not be used as a “flop house.”


Whole Foods fills Basalt’s financial appetite

The August 15 opening of Whole Foods Market provided the sales surge that many civic and business leaders expected. Sales tax collections in the retail food category soared 39 percent in August. The town's 3 percent sales tax brought in $151,399 from retail food sales in August. That far exceeds the total for the same month in any of the prior four years.

The town's next sales tax report will reflect sales for September and the first full month of operation for Whole Foods.

New town manager takes reins in December

Mike Scanlon, the city administrator of Mission, Kan., a town of 9,300 people near Kansas City, has been hired as the new town manager in Basalt. He has served in government for nearly 30 years, and currently oversees 70 employees in a city of about 9,000. He will have plenty of work once he arrives in December, including the Pan and Fork redevelopment and the proposal for a continuing-care community proposed by Aspen Valley Medical Foundation next to the high school.



Pitkin County —

County considers upping building fees

Pitkin County may rework the way it calculates building fees in order to better reflect actual construction costs.

Building fees are based on estimated costs submitted by contractors before a project begins. Those estimates tend to be short of the actual cost, according to county use tax records. So the county is currently comparing estimates at the outset with the actual cost when the use tax is tallied at the end of work.


Some jurisdictions require building fees still owed at the end of a project to be paid before a certificate of occupancy is issued. The county building official said he would rather find a way to accurately estimate costs at the beginning of a project than penalize it at the end.


County OKs law that may require address changes

An ordinance designed to improve response times for emergency personnel may force some homeowners to change the address on their homes, and limit the right of property owners to name private roads on their land.

The ordinance is mainly aimed at street numbers and names for newly developed businesses and subdivisions. Current addresses will remain unaffected unless they are deemed to be a public safety hazard.


Staff said they would not require anyone to change their street number until a process is implemented to guide those affected. They are also looking at ways to allow land owners the greatest latitude possible in coming up with their own names for private roads.


Foreclosures down in Roaring Fork Valley

A report compiled by real estate broker and attorney Garret Brandt indicates that new foreclosure actions were flat in Pitkin County for July, August and September, and decreased in the Roaring Fork Valley portions of Eagle and Garfield counties.

There were 80 foreclosure actions in Pitkin County, on pace with the 81 foreclosures over the same period last year. In Eagle County, the foreclosure rate is down 40 percent, and in the Garfield County portion of the valley it is down 7 percent.

County to continue road investments in 2013

Pitkin County’s proposed 2013 budget continues aggressive funding of county roads, bridges and facilities to make up for several years of deferring such expenditures. The proposed 2013 general-fund budget also reflects the hiring of a full-time employee to handle certain facilities-maintenance projects and a 3 percent increase in the overall salary package for the county's 273-employee work force.

The general-fund budget reflects a 3 percent increase in Community Development fees over 2012, a 3.5 percent increase in sales tax revenue and a 2.7 percent hike in property tax revenues.


Declining revenues signal energy program’s success

The downward trend in revenue collections through Pitkin County’s Renewable Energy Mitigation Program (REMP) is being touted as a measure of success.


Over the last 12 years, it has collected $9 million in fees that are designed to penalize projects that are not energy conscious. In the last five years, total annual revenues have been on the decline because builders and developers are designing projects that are much more energy efficient.

All of the money collected through the program has been invested in energy mitigation projects for residents and businesses in the Roaring Fork Valley. 


Community development set to hire additional planner

Aspen may soon hire a senior planner for the Community Development Department Director Chris Bendon said the planner is needed to allow his staff to work on the land-use code rewrite and other initiatives from City Council.

Posted by gary on November 05, 2012 in

Aspen Sale October 24, 2012

Aspen Sale October 24, 2012

1110 Black Birch Drive

West Aspen


Four bedrooms/two baths

$1,627 per square foot

Asking price $4,295,000

82% of asking price

Photo by: Gary Feldman 

Posted by gary on November 02, 2012 in