May 2018 — Real Estate In The News



City Approves New Parking Fees

Aspen City Council agreed to make an hour or two of parking more expensive during peak hours in the high season, further embracing a dynamic pricing model, the Aspen Daily News reported. The changes, to take effect June 1, also include a free-parking allowance of 15 minutes, while making the parking garage free after 3 p.m. for local employees.

The new changes shift the city away from a graduated rate structure where the hourly price increases from $3 for the first hour to $7.50 for the fourth hour, per the high-season rate structure (off-season pricing is lower). This has encouraged some people to game the system by paying for parking one hour at a time and staying at the lower rate.

WE-Cycle to Offer Free Rides this Summer

Going into its sixth season, WE-cycle is the first bike share program to be free system-wide to all users, for rides of 30 minutes or less, the Aspen Daily News reported. WE-cycle debuted in Aspen with just over a dozen stations, 90 bikes and 10,000 rides in its first year. It has grown steadily since then and expanded to the midvalley in 2016. Last season, WE-cycle boasted 20 stations in Aspen, 23 in the midvalley, 190 bikes between the two zones and just over 43,000 rides in total.

Launching to the public in summer 2013, it was the first automated bike share network in North America outside of a metropolitan area. It was among the first North American systems to integrate its passes with a bus service provider, as it has done with RFTA for many years. And, it became the first North American network three seasons ago to allow users to check out a bike using their smartphones, and it was among the first in the industry to use smaller “satellite stations” to bring service to more neighborhoods.

Mark Hunt Eyes Boomerang Lodge

The site of the old Boomerang Lodge is under contract again for purchase, this time involving a buyer who is well-known in Aspen’s real estate arena, the Aspen Times reported. Mark Hunt, the Chicago developer whose bullish approach to Aspen commercial properties accounted for more than $100 million in transactions in the early- to mid-2010s, has the 500 W. Hopkins Ave. property under contract with an unknown closing date.

Austrian immigrant Charles Paterson opened the Boomerang Lodge in 1956 and sold it and a neighboring parcel in 2005. The property has been through a series of potential development scenarios over the past 13 years, most recently when a group called ME Aspen Ventures One LLC eyed it for a 36,000-square-foot building comprising free-market condos, rental suites and lodge units. ME Aspen Ventures One, which had the property under contract for purchase, walked out from the deal in January after realizing its redevelopment plan would not fly with Aspen City Council.



Snowmass Sets Occupancy Records for February

February was a record month for occupancy in Snowmass Village, with 78.2 percent of the beds filled on average, the most recorded during this month since record-keeping, the Aspen Daily News reported. Big storms and healthy group business during the month have been credited as factors.

Sales tax collections were also up in February, by 4.66 percent over the same month last year, which is not surprising given the two measures usually correspond. It’s especially important in Snowmass Village, given its more severe seasonality, in collecting the needed revenues to support essential town services. Increases from this month last year were seen in lodging and restaurants, retail, including sporting equipment, and construction retail.

Marketing Board Says OK to Pot Shops

The Snowmass Village Marketing, Group Sales and Special Events Board does not oppose the establishment of retail and medical marijuana shops in Snowmass Village as long as they are regulated and operate in “inconspicuous” locations, the Aspen Daily News reported.

The town council had asked the board to offer input on pot sales within Snowmass Village, which has had a moratorium in place almost since 2012. The town’s moratorium is set to expire in October after several extensions, at which time council may decide to allow local sales, ban them outright or ask voters to make the final decision.

The marketing board decided in April to pass its recommendation on to the council. A community questionnaire in January found that 53.6 percent of of 540 valid respondents believed that marijuana establishments should not be licensed in Snowmass Village. The survey found that 55 percent of year-round residents favored local marijuana establishments while 71 percent of part-time residents were for the continued prohibition.




Slack, Infante Sworn in as New Council Members

Ryan Slack, 35, and Bill Infante, 56, were sworn in at the end of April after being newly elected to Basalt Town Council, the Aspen Daily News reported. They were both elected in an April 3 election in which six candidates vied for three council seats. Incumbent Gary Tennenbaum won the third seat. In the six-candidate race, Infante bested the field with 460 votes counted on election night and Slack ran second with 410 votes.



Affordable Housing Project Proposed for Carbondale

The Carbondale Planning and Zoning Commissioners will consider an affordable housing application in May that will be open to any Carbondale resident who meets the income qualifications, the Sopris Sun reported. The Aspen Pitkin County Employee Housing Inc. acquired a 1,128-acre land parcel on Dolores Way in September — its first purchase in Carbondale. The 22-page application includes an extensive site plan and architectural details with illustrations for the proposed 30 units that will comprise Red Hill Lofts.

Carbondale to Consider Raising Tobacco Age

Carbondale is looking to follow Aspen and Basalt’s lead and raise the age limit from 18 to 21 to buy not only vaping products but any type of tobacco, the Glenwood Springs Independent reported. The conversation grew out of concerns raised in a recent series of education sessions sponsored by the local schools about the rise in teenage use of electronic cigarettes and the practice of vaping.

The town board is set to consider an ordinance that would raise the age to 21 to be able to buy any type of tobacco product, including traditional cigarettes, chewing tobacco, vaping devices and e-liquids. That’s the same age limit for purchase of alcohol and marijuana products in Colorado.


Glenwood Springs


Sales Tax Dips in February

Retail sales in Glenwood Springs dropped off some in February, but what that means in the grand scheme of Glenwood’s economic picture as the first quarter closes out remains to be seen, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. According to the city’s monthly sales tax report, sales took about a 2 percent dive in February compared to the same month last year, well before the impacts of the Grand Avenue Bridge closure took hold.

After a decent start to the new year in January, sales for the year are running just about even for the year to date, and with March/first quarter numbers still coming in. Roughly 60 percent of the city’s general fund revenues come from sales taxes, and the city typically budgets about a 2 percent increase from year to year.

Pitkin County

County Election Nominees Names

A political newcomer, who is also a county employee, was the only person to apply for the District 2 seat on the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners, the Aspen Daily News reported. Kelly McNicholas Kury, 39, has served since 2016 as election manager for the county’s clerk and recorder office. She’s been working in the elections department since 2013.

For the BOCC’s District 1 seat, incumbent Patti Clapper will face restaurant owner Rob Ittner. Clapper held the seat from 1999 to 2010 and was term-limited from seeking re-election in 2010. Sheriff Joe DiSalvo has an opponent in longtime Aspen police officer Walter Chi. Former Aspen mayor Mick Ireland will square off against Deb Bamesberger in the county assessor’s race. And incumbent clerk Vos Caudill was unopposed for re-election.

Parking at Buttermilk Now an Option

Parking is at a premium in the Aspen area, so Pitkin County and the city of Aspen are joining forces to offer a selection of long and short-term parking options to construction companies and the general public, the Aspen Daily News reported. From May 1 to Nov. 30, a total of 347 parking spaces will become available to stage oversized construction vehicles and for day use parking at the Buttermilk Mountain lot. There is free transportation to and from the lot into Aspen.  

For a daily fee of $6, vehicles can park at Buttermilk for up to 96 hours or four days at a time. Oversized construction vehicles may be staged at Buttermilk for a day, week, or month until ski season begins. Fees vary from $40 per day up to $3,500 for the entire summer season.