June 2013

Aspen Sale June 24, 3013

Aspen Sale June 24, 3013

Aspen Alps, Unit 210

700 Ute Avenue, Unit 210


Three bedrooms/three baths

1,358 sf

Sold price per square foot $1,067

Asking price $1,450,000

100% of asking price

Photo by Gary Feldman

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 27, 2013 in

Aspen Sale June 3, 3013

Aspen Sale June 3, 3013

Aspen East, Unit 2

980 East Hyman Avenue, Unit 2


Two bedrooms/two baths

1,088 sf

Sold price per square foot $919

Asking price $1,280,000

78% of asking price

Photo by Gary Feldman

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 27, 2013 in

Snowmass Village Sale - June 19, 2013

Snowmass Village Sale - June 19, 2013

Country Club Homes, Unit 54

Snowmass Village


Three bedrooms/three baths

2,375 sf

Sold price per square foot $560

Asking price $1,495,000

89% of asking price

Photo by Gary Feldman

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 21, 2013 in

Aspen Sale May 24, 2013

Aspen Sale May 24, 2013

1330 Mountain View Drive

West Meadow Block 1, Lot 5



Three bedroom/two bath

1,838 sf

Sold price per square foot $979

Asking price $1,990,000

90% of asking price

Photo by Gary Feldman

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 18, 2013 in

Looking for a home in Snowmass Village ?

Looking for a home in Snowmass Village ?

Even the local wildlife loves BJ Adams and Company

Photo by BJ Adams and Company

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 18, 2013 in

Snowmass Village Sale - June 12, 2013

Snowmass Village Sale - June 12, 2013

590 Wood Road, Unit 42

Woodrun V, Unit 42

Snowmass Village


Three bedrooms/three baths

1,895 sf

Sold price per square foot $949

Asking price $2,295,000

78% of asking price

Photo by Taylor Feldman

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 14, 2013 in

Aspen Board of Realtors Observer - June, 2013

Aspen Board of Realtors Observer - June, 2013

ABOR Observer

June 2013


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— City at odds with itself over definition of “local serving”

Snowmass Village – Land use code changes on the table this month

                Basalt – Developer’s legal difficulties issue in hotel development

                Pitkin County – New housing fee formula may lead to sharp increase


Aspen —

City seeks definition to “local serving” with hallway gallery case

Outgoing Mayor Mick Ireland proposed a zoning change to allow businesses that operate in common areas such as hallways, foyers and atriums to avoid housing mitigation fees if they are “local serving,” which is defined as a business that is locally owned and selling locally made goods.


The issue came up after the Nugget Gallery, located in a hallway in an office building on the Hyman Avenue Mall, was threatened with closure by the city’s community development department. The gallery has sold locally made art for two-and-a-half years using a series of temporary permits, the latest of which expires in July.


It is staffed in the evenings by one part-time employee. Under current rules, owner Ross Kribbs must pay nearly $100,000 in housing mitigation to receive a regular business permit.


The Community Development Department has so far resisted the idea of defining the term “local serving,” however, and has recommended it be stripped from the zoning amendment. Such a move, Ireland fears, would give landlords the opportunity to rent wall and hall space to existing tenants such as retailers and do little to help entrepreneurs.

A final vote on the amendment will take place on or after June 10, after Ireland has stepped down.


Aspen property owner appeals forest service plan to sell West End lots

A homeowner on Smuggler Street appealed the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to sell an acre in the West End, calling it “ill-conceived.”

Gene Powell argues that by failing to place any architectural guidelines on the five lots it plans to sell, the agency is threatening property values in the neighborhood. Powell also questions the financial viability of plans to build a new Aspen ranger’s office and interpretative center on the remaining three acres of the site.

The White River National Forest Supervisor points out that the neighborhood currently has single-family homes and duplexes on parcels between 3,000 and 12,000 square feet. Surrounding homes range in size between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet. The lots the Forest Service plans to sell are 7,500 square feet each, allowing homes of approximately 3,000-3,500 square feet.


Affordable-restaurant requirement elusive for owners of Brunello Cucinelli building

Efforts to find a moderately-priced restaurant to fill the basement of the building on Cooper Avenue that is home to the Brunello Cucinelli clothing store have so far been unsuccessful. The affordable restaurant search is the result of a settlement between the city of Aspen and developer. Officials let a May 20 deadline for leasing the space pass without action, but they now has the right to take over the search for a tenant. However, a representative for the ownership group said there are two prospects that may lease the space.


Kids First, city consider beefing up security for child care at Yellow Brick

A committee headed by Kids First executive director Shirley Ritter is considering measures to tighten security at the Yellow Brick Building, which contains as many as 150 children, from newborns to 5-year-olds, plus 50 staff members on any given weekday.


Some extra security precautions have already been taken since the high-profile mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Classroom doors on the main level now remain locked during the day, and a new employee helps keep an eye on activity around the building during drop-off and pick-up times.


City Council has expressed reluctance to adopt more stringent measures like biometric fingerprinting to enter the building and digital surveillance cameras throughout the property.


Council Oks 7-year vesting period for AVH

Aspen City Council agreed to a seven-year vesting period for the final two phase of Aspen Valley Hospital’s expansion. Hospital officials say they need extra time to raise the $60 million in private donations necessary for the new emergency room, offices and other patient care facilities. Around $15 million has been pledged so far, according to published reports.


Part-time Aspenite tabbed for Commerce Secretary

President Barack Obama nominated part-time Aspen resident Penny Pritzker to be Secretary of Commerce. Pritzker keeps a residence on Castle Creek, and her primary home in Chicago. She sits on the board of Hyatt Hotels Corp., and is CEO of the investment firm PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group.  She is a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a trustee of Stanford University, and a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


Plum TV cuts Aspen/Snowmass operations

Plum TV cut broadcasting services after just one season of operations from Snowmass Village, closing its  office and eliminating all programming. A still image now fills the screen on channel 16.  Plum has been expanding into metropolitan markets in recent years, including Boston, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, while ceasing operations in The Hamptons and Aspen.


Sarpa named interim CEO at Aspen Valley Hospital

Aspen Valley Hospital appointed John Sarpa interim chief executive officer while the facility searches for a permanent replacement for departed CEO Dave Ressler. Sarpa, a longtime developer in Aspen, has served as the hospital’s board president for the past 11 years. As an employee of the hospital, Sarpa was required to step down from the board.


Opera stars to release John Denver tribute album

A collection of world renown opera stars — including Placido Domingo, Rod Gilfry, Daniel Montenegro, Shenyang, Danielle de Niese and Rene Pape — have collaborated on a new cd of John Denver’s greatest hits. “Great Voices Sing John Denver” is due out on June 11. Denver lived in Aspen from the 1970s through the 1990s.



Snowmass Village —

Town to consider land use code amendments

Town Council is set to begin review of updates to the Land Use and Development Code and Comprehensive plan in a joint meeting with the planning commission on June 17.


Specific updates to the land use code that are under consideration include definitions, dimensional limitations and floor area measurements, public noticing, and administrative modification processing.

The planning commission has also approved a draft of the State of the Comprehensive Plan Report, which will be considered by Town Council at the same meeting.


Snowmass lodges continue to outdraw Aspen’s as Food & Wine Classic approaches

Hotel bookings in Aspen are down substantially for the three-day Food & Wine Classic, but Snowmass Village is filling up fast. Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, confirmed that attendees are migrating the 250-room Westin Snowmass resort and the 150-room Wildwood Lodge in Snowmass Village, both of where remodeled last year. The three-day event, June 14-16, is sold out.


The latest numbers line up with the winter season. Occupancy at lodges in Snowmass Village rose 7.2 percent for the 2012-13 ski season, but fell in Aspen by 2.4 percent. In terms of the average nightly room rate, Aspen fared better at  $430, an 8.4 percent increase over 2011-12. The average rate in Snowmass was $373, up 6.7 percent.


Work on Snowmass Village bowling alley proceeding

Slopeside Lanes, the bowling alley in Snowmass Village is under construction but will not open in June as hoped. Entrepreneur Mark Reece says he is waiting on surface materials for the eight-lane alley and bar-lounge. He says the challenges of building a top-notch facility in the 6,000-square foot space off Fanny Hill have delayed the opening until later this summer.


Mediation next step in fire department dispute

Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District may hire a third-party mediator to help resolve conflicts between staff and the department’s leadership. Some employees have filed grievances accusing the chief of creating a hostile work environment. The board is discussing hiring a company that works in conflict resolution to act as a mediator and help it determine an appropriate course of action.


Sales up in most categories in Snowmass Village

Snowmass Village retailers benefitted from a snowy March, with overall sales growing 15 percent in March. The town finance department reported that there was more than $28 million in sales for the month. For the winter, sales are running 10.4 percent than the previous ski season.


Lodging, accounting for nearly half of the sales, grew 15.2 percent when compared with March 2012. Restaurants were up 23 percent, sports equipment and clothing  15.1 percent, food, drug and liquor stores 4.8 percent. General retail increased by 19.9 percent.


Snowmass Village funds plans for fossil center

The Snowmass Village’s Ice Age Discovery Center received $22,500 from the Snowmass Tourism office and another $21,000 from Town Council to help with operations at the Discovery Center and an executive director. Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which led the dig-site efforts and holds the bones as the designated state repository, plans to install a fossil preparatory lab at the Discovery Center, which reopened June 1.


Snowmass Village men first in county to tie civil union knot

Two Snowmass Village residents became the first couple in Pitkin County to be granted a civil union certificate, just hours after a new law blessing such arrangements, the Colorado Civil Union Act, went into effect. James Ontko and Ricardo Massolini, exchanged rings at the county Clerk and Recorder’s Office and then headed over to the St. Regis in Aspen for a champagne breakfast.


Town manager leaving post

Town Manager Russ Forrest accepted a job as assistant county manager for economic and community development in Gunnison County, ending a six year run running Snowmass Village’s government. Forrest will continue as town manager until later this summer.



Basalt —

Report notes Basalt Pan and Fork investor’s legal, financial woes

Richard Myers, a partner in Realty Capital Management, the Dallas-based firm that holds a 30 percent stake in a proposal to build a Hyatt Place hotel on the site of the Pan and Fork mobile home park, is appealing a 2011 court order to pay $5 million in damages in connection with a jury finding that he and others committed statutory and common-law fraud with a development project in Dallas-Fort Worth.


Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon said that information arose in a background check the town conducted of all parties involved with the Hyatt project. Scanlon said the check was necessary because the government will share millions in costs with the developer on infrastructure improvements.


Myers, who has been the lead negotiator for the development team in Basalt, maintains his own legal challenges do not reflect on Realty Capital Management’s standing or ability to do its job. Myers agreed to hand over negotiating duties to officials from San Francisco-based Presidio Cos., which holds a 70 percent stake in the project.


Community garden takes root in Basalt

About 80 percent of the plots in the community garden at Grace-Shehi Park in Basalt are in use. Grace-Shehi is located just west of Basalt High School, between the lower slopes of Light Hill and the Rio Grande Trail. An acre of the site was set aside for community gardeners. It is expected to fill up within a year or two.


Grocery, other sales fill Basalt coffers

Sales tax revenue in Basalt surged nearly 31 percent this March compared with March 2012, led by a 43.5 percent jump in grocery store sales. Restaurants with bars saw sales climb nearly 32 percent in March. General retail shops were up 28.5 percent, and retail sporting-goods shops were up 14.5 percent. Businesses selling building materials posted a gain of nearly 12 percent. Liquor stores were up 28 percent.



Pitkin County —

County considers market gap method for housing fees

Tom McCabe, director of Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, says the current formula for assessing housing mitigation fees, based on the estimated cost of land and construction prices, is inadequate. Some developers have been found to under-report estimated costs, reducing their housing fees.


McCabe recommended to the County Commissioners that fees be calculated using the “market-affordability gap” method, which takes the average price of free-market housing in a community and compares it with the amount people in different income classes can afford to spend on housing. The difference between the two determines subsidy levels and mitigation fees.


Such a change may result in mitigation fees going up from $38,900 per employee to as much as $277,000. McCabe recommended the actual fee be based on a percentage of that full amount in order to avoid sticker shock.


Attorney Jody Edwards criticized the formula for using the price of free market housing, rather than the price of affordable housing, to set fees for developers.  “The free market units in this town have Italian marble countertops and Persian rugs,” he reminded the commissioners.


County may exempt RFTA from energy mitigation fees for snowmelt systems

The Pitkin County Commissioners may exempt the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority from energy mitigation fees that private developers normally pay.  


Snowmelt systems installed at bus stops exceed the energy budget established in the county’s land use code. RFTA is obligated under Renewable Energy Mitigation Program to pay $390,000, which would be used on energy saving projects.


But RFTA says snowmelt is a public safety issue in this case. About 10 accidents at bus stops each year that involve injuries that lead to insurance claims. Additionally, the bus agency points out that its very existence is one of the community’s most important energy saving aspects.


Commissioners worried about setting precedent with public safety needs, which can be argued by other public agencies as well as developers and business owners. Commissioner Steve Child suggested that off-site mitigation be allowed in in this and possibly other circumstances. Current rules require either on-site mitigation or the fee.


Emma trail dispute puts county on the spot

Emma landowner Ginny Parker warned the Open Space and Trails board of directors that county actions regarding her land may spook other landowners from granting conservation easements.


Parker gave an easement to the county a few years ago for Nancy’s Trail, which starts in a parking area on her Happy Day Ranch and connects to public lands on The Crown. The use of 300 feet of the trail is now in dispute with her neighbor.


Tom Waldeck, owner of the adjacent Emma Farm, contends that the route has been used to drive cattle since at least 1917. A four-year legal battle between Parker and Waldeck over that activity is set to go to trial in August. Pitkin County and the Aspen Valley Land Trust, which hold the conservation easement for the trail, were initially named in the suite, but settled with Waldeck earlier this year, leaving Parker as the sole litigant.


Open Space and Trails Director Dale Will said Waldeck agreed to limit motorized use of the trail to driving cattle up in the spring and down in the fall, which was the primary issue for the county. As for the dispute between Emma Farms and Happy Day Ranch, Will said that is a matter for a judge to decide.


CSU horticulturalist now available with land management advice

Pitkin County now has a part-time horticultural specialist through the CSU Extension program visiting one day a week. The agent is available to provide advice to landowners on various land-management practices, such as food production and combatting noxious weeds. The Open Space and Trails program will also rely on the expertise to help it manage agricultural properties acquired over the years.


Carbon-monoxide poisoning case settled

Relatives of the family that died of carbon monoxide poisoning at a home outside Aspen in 2008, settled their lawsuit with the general contractor, the last of several defendants in the civil case. The death’s were a result of a boiler that was not properly installed. Family members have helped pass legislation requiring carbon monoxide detectors in every residence in Colorado, Oregon, Maine and Washington State.


Are larger airplanes in store for Aspen?

A growing trend toward larger regional jets may require Pitkin County to reassess existing limits on aircraft size. Skywest Airlines’ recent $4.2 billion purchase of 100 new MRJ-90 jets from Mitsubishi Aircraft underscored the need for review. The MRJ-90 carries as many as 92 passengers, versus the 78-passenger maximum with the CRJ-700s that currently serve Aspen. But the newer jet’s wingspan exceeds current limits. The County Commissioners plan to consider the issue further once they have more information.


Year-round mining permitted at Avalanche Creek

David Francomb, acting Aspen-Sopris District Ranger, issued a new decision that will allow Elbram Stone Co. LLC to mine marble over the next four years at its White Banks Mine between Redstone and Carbondale. Winter operations will allowed, with some restrictions.


Neighbors of the mine, which is located near the confluence of Avalanche Creek and the Crystal River, have strongly opposed any activity. Previous district rangers determined that year-round activity will threaten a big horn sheep herd that winters in the area, denying the company’s previous application.


Francomb ruled the company has a legal right to mine its claims. His decision allows the company to produce alabaster and gypsum year-round in addition to marble.


2013 Q1 Real Estate: transaction up, dollar volume down

There 168 real estate transactions in Pitkin County during the first quarter of the year — 13 percent better than the same period last year. But dollar volume through March, at  $191,347,388, was down 22 percent from 2012.


Dollar volume picked up sharply in April, and transaction numbers remained strong however. Sales rose to $111,269,029, an increase of 12 percent over the same month in 2012. There were 72 transactions in April 2013, up from 64 last year.


Environment Foundation gives $50,000 to protect Thompson Divide

The employee-managed Environment Foundation at the Aspen Skiing Co. awarded the largest grant in its 16-year history with a $50,000 contribution to protect the 220,000-acre Thompson Divide area just outside of Carbondale from natural gas development. The grant was given to three local groups: EcoFlight, the Thompson Divide Coalition and the Wilderness Workshop. 


Meanwhile, SG Interests allowed a 2,500-acre natural gas lease in the Thompson Divide to expire. The company still holds more than 20,000 acres of leases the area, and has applied for unitization of its holdings so that they can be administered and developed as a group.

Sky Mountain Park open for equestrians, hikers and bikers

Pitkin County is planning improvements to popular Skyline Ridge Trail, which runs along the ridge above Brush and Owl creeks, with single-track connections from both Cozy Point South and the paved Owl Creek Trail. The trails are located in Sky Mountain Park, a 2,500-acre public open space.


Bells bus begins in mid-June

Bus service to the Maroon Bells begins Saturday, June 15 at 9:00 a.m. The Maroon Bells bus, offered through RFTA, is the longest running bus system to any National Forest attraction in the country, and serves the majority of 200,000-plus annual visitors. Busses depart Aspen Highlands every 20 minutes from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then every 30 minutes until 4:30 p.m.


County adds trail easements on backside of Aspen Mountain

Pitkin County gained two trail easements on the backside of Aspen Mountain as part of a residential approval on Little Annie Road. One is a stretch of Hurricane Road, the other a short section of driveway that connects Little Annie Road to public land.

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 14, 2013 in

Aspen Sale June 6, 2013

Aspen Sale June 6, 2013

79 Thunderbowl Lane

Aspen Highlands Village


Four bedrooms/four baths

4,353 sf

Sold price per square foot $775

Asking Price $3,950,000

85% of asking price

Photo by Gary Feldman

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 12, 2013 in

Aspen Sale June 3, 3013

Aspen Sale June 3, 3013

190 Letey Lane

Woody Creek


Six bedrooms/five baths

7,246 sf

Sold price per square foot $572

Asking price $4,750,000

87% of asking price

Photo by Gary Feldman

Posted by GaryFeldman on June 11, 2013 in