|ABOR Observer DECEMBER 2011|
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.
Developer offers to preserve Little Annie’s for affordable housing relief
Aspen Core Ventures LLC, owner of the Little Annie's and the Benton Buildings, has asked that both structures be considered for inclusion as historic properties under the Aspen Modern program.
In exchange, Niko Hecht and his partners are asking the city to lift unit-size limits so they can build a 7,000-sqaure-foot penthouse unit atop a new, three-story building in the empty lot at Hunter and Hyman, eliminate mitigation requirement for 10 affordable housing units, and forgive approximately $80,000 in development fees.
City Council recently upheld historic designation of the Bennett Building, and began scrutinizing a decision by the Historic Preservation Commission not to grant the same status for Little Annie’s. The preservation plan under consideration would restore the Benton Building to its original design, and maintain the Little Annie’s building as is.
AACP gets nod from planning commissions
Planning commissions for the city of Aspen and Pitkin County voted to adopt the Aspen Area Community Plan, setting the stage for formal adoption and implementation in 2012.
Adoption is final for unincorporated areas of Pitkin County, unless the County Commissioners choose to make further revisions. City Council plans to review and adopt the plan early next year. It will then be used to amend to the land use code.
Vesting rights last sticking point in Lift One Lodge approval
Lift One Lodge received the go-ahead from City Council, setting the stage for redevelopment of the long-dilapidated lodging district at Aspen’s original base area.
Vesting rights turned out to be the only sticking point with final approval. The ordinance presented to Council gave the developer 10 years to complete the project, but Councilman Torre objected. After Bob Daniel agreed to a five year vesting, the council unanimously approved the plan for five free-market condos, 22 timeshare units that can be locked off into 84 separate rental rooms.
A 50-foot wide ski/snowboard easement will run from the bottom of Lift 1A between the project’s two buildings to Willoughby Park.
Lenders to foreclose Aspenwalk
Two lenders filed foreclosure notices on 404 Park Circle, accusing PFG Aspenwalk of “failure to make timely payments.” The developer has a pending application to demolish housing developments at 414 Park Avenue and 404 Park Circle to develop 14 free-market condominium units, and 24 employee-housing units.
Buttermilk, Highlands improvements ready to go
A new Tiehack lift and a new ski patrol headquarters at Buttermilk, and renovation of the Merry-Go-Restaurant, mid-mountain at Aspen Highlands, are expected to be ready for skiers and riders when the mountains open on Dec. 10.
City Market pharmacy set to open
City Market’s new pharmacy will open in Aspen Square near the first of the year, in the space previously occupied by Le Tub. As recently as 2009, Aspen was down to just one pharmacy, Carl’s. Clark’s Market opened a second pharmacy earlier this year. The new City Market pharmacy will bring the total to three.
Little Nell recognized as both ‘top’ ‘and greenest' accommodation
The Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association's “Stars of the Industry” employee award for the most environmentally-friendly tourist accommodation in Colorado went to the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Little Nell Hotel. Meanwhile, Forbes gave the facility a “Five-Star Award” for 2012, a distinction given to just 57 hotels world wide.
Aspen Skiing Co. requiring all employees to wear helmets — all the time
The Aspen Skiing Co. has instituted a new policy to require all employees to wear helmets when they are on the clock. The company first mandated helmets in 2002, requiring all children enrolled in ski and snowboard classes. Last year it required helmets for salaried personnel, instructors who teach children and those who work in terrain parks. The policy affects approximately 2,000 employees.