Appraisal Comes in Lower than Asking Price
An appraiser has valued a Hopkins Avenue property the city of Aspen may purchase for office space at $3 million to $5 million less than the contract price negotiated with developer Mark Hunt, the Aspen Daily News reported. The 21,400 square feet the city would buy in a new building at 517 E. Hopkins Ave. has a market value of $18 million to $20 million and the city is under contract to purchase the space, which occupies part of the first floor plus the second floor and basement of the approved-but-not-yet-built building, for $23 million.
Aspen voters will decide on Nov. 6 whether the city should purchase office space from Hunt or build on city-owned land adjacent to the Rio Grande parking garage between Galena Plaza and Rio Grande Park. Aspen City Council in 2017 approved plans for a 37,000-square-foot building, which is now estimated to cost $26.1 million to build.
Amended Plans Submitted for Lift 1
Developers of two hotels that are critical to bringing a new Lift 1A 500 feet closer to the downtown core submitted amended building proposals, the Aspen Daily News reported. Planners working on the Gorsuch Haus and Lift One Lodge projects are proposing changes to previous iterations of their proposals to accommodate the new lift alignment. These changes include more square footage and a higher room count for the Lift One Lodge, which narrowed and lengthened its buildings.
Jim DeFrancia, representing the Gorsuch team, said the hotel proposal is now 64,000 square feet and 81 rooms. The previous application asked for over 70,000 square feet and six rooms with seven condominiums. Michael Brown, who along with his brother Aaron Brown, have approvals for 199,000 square feet for their entire project, which includes two lodge buildings. They are asking for the project to increase 3,000 square feet.
Crepe Shack to Open in Base Village
When the next phase of Snowmass Base Village opens in December, two new dining options will debut as well, the Aspen Daily News reported. The Crepe Shack, which will be operated by local chef and restaurateur Mawa McQueen, will occupy a corner space in the Lumin condominium building. The Limelight Snowmass, which will be deeded to Aspen Skiing Co. upon its completion in December, will also operate a restaurant this winter that is open to the public.
Sales Tax Up Despite Fire
Town of Basalt sales tax collections rose 4 percent in July, a number that perhaps surprises some who believed the flames and smoke from the Lake Christine Fire drove away tourists who would normally visit, the Aspen Daily News reported. Officials said they heard multiple reports of shopping carts filled to the brim at the El Jebel City Market and Whole Foods for firefighters burning thousands of calories a day, which may have helped revenue.
That, combined with ongoing construction of various midvalley projects and the town now collecting — as the city of Aspen also is doing — taxes on Amazon.com sales, helped to offset the loss of people who’d have normally been at Ruedi Reservoir or in the Fryingpan River’s gold-medal waters.
Pan and Fork Plans Fail, Again
The latest development proposal for the Pan and Fork property fell flat with the Basalt Town Council, the Aspen Times reported. The five council members present at the meeting urged Basalt River Park LLC, to go back to the drawing board. It was the first time the council was able to provide feedback in the land use review process.
The reasons for opposition were all over the board, but landed on the project not being creative enough. Basalt River Park LLC submitted a proposal for 22 free-market housing units of 2,100 square feet each and six affordable housing units. In addition, 7,000 square feet of land would be provided to the Art Base for a community arts center, 1,300 square feet would be provided to Basalt Chamber of Commerce for a visitors’ center and 1,000 square feet would be designated for commercial space, preferably for a coffee shop. About 1 acre would be sold to the town for expansion of the town’s existing, adjacent park on the Roaring Fork River.
Carbondale Artists Want Housing Too
A national real estate developer of affordable space for the arts has its eye on Carbondale, the Aspen Times reported. ArtSpace honed in on goals of quantifying the demands of artists in Carbondale, and deemed that 269 of 342 respondents were creative people wanting affordable work-live space to stay in order to stay in Carbondale.
Based upon the data, Artspace recommended the town, working in conjunction with Carbondale Arts and other groups, create up to 42 units of affordable live-work housing for artists and other “creatives” and their families, plus 11 units of new private studio space and other types of creative spaces.
New Developments to Help Ease Housing Crunch
Glenwood Springs has two new apartment complexes well on their way toward easing some of the looming housing demand, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. Construction is now underway on the 116-unit Six Canyon Apartment Complex, being developed by Richmark, a regional real estate developer. The Six Canyon complex will stand on 3.7 acres of land where the old Terra Vista Motel and Bayou Restaurant once stood, at 52089 and 52147 Highways 6 and 24 in West Glenwood. The 116 studios, one- and two-bedroom units have an estimated completion date of late 2019.
Meanwhile, Dallas-based Realty Capital Partners LLC, in conjunction with developers Realty Capital Management LLC and Stoneleigh Companies, partnered on a joint undertaking for Phase II of the Lofts at Red Mountain, on the south end of Glenwood Meadows. Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed in the spring, bringing 85 units on line. Phase II is targeted for an early 2020 completion on an additional 96 units.
Solar Farm to Get Full Review
A developer of renewable energy projects that wants to build an 18,000-panel solar power plant south of Woody Creek will face Pitkin County’s full land-use review process, including scrutiny by the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners as well as public hearings at meetings of both entities, according to the Aspen Daily News. Some have said the project is receiving a fast-track review process, and developers are setting the story straight.
Renewable Energy Systems submitted its 183-page application to the county in May. Pitkin County Solar LLC, a subsidiary of RES Distributed LLC, would lease 33 acres of a 55-acre parcel from the Aspen Consolidated Sanitation District for the solar energy farm.
The project is a for-profit venture by Pitkin County Solar to supply energy to Holy Cross Energy, the nonprofit electricity cooperative that supplies power to over 55,000 customers in the Roaring Fork Valley and along the I-70 corridor of the Western Slope. The 5-megawatt facility would supply energy to Holy Cross’s existing distribution system.
Commissioners Accept $6 Million Grant for Runway
Pitkin County commissioners accepted a multimillion dollar grant from the federal government that will go toward designing a new runway at the Aspen airport, the Aspen Times reported. The $6 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration will be matched by approximately $600,000 from Pitkin County and will allow community dialogue about the project and the design of a wider, longer runway to begin
Commissioners took pains Wednesday to point out that, with myriad questions about the project yet to be answered, no decisions about the runway or a proposed new terminal have been made.
We-Cycle Use Way Up
WE-cycle ridership has grown significantly over past year — from 2,786 users to just over 5,000 riders, the Aspen Times reported. And those bicyclists took more than 50,000 rides this season. This is the first year that the bike-sharing program is free. Riders can take a bike from any of the 47 stations located in Aspen or Basalt for 30 minutes for free. Every additional minute is $.50 cents.
One of the biggest trends that emerged this year is that people used the bikes as part of their daily commute to work. In Basalt, there was a surge in the number of people who took the bikes stationed in neighborhoods and rode them to park-and-ride lots in the morning and then back home in the evening.