Real Estate In The News – February 2020


Bayer Museum Proposed for Aspen Institute Campus

The Aspen Institute has plans for a new building on the north side of its property, to be used as a museum dedicated to campus architect Herbert Bayer, the Aspen Daily News reported. The new building would share a sculpture courtyard with the Boettcher Building. The Center for Herbert Bayer Studies would serve as a museum and research facility dedicated to the life and career of Bayer.

The project is made possible by a private gift to the institute, and the Bayer family has already committed to donating 13 pieces of Bayer’s work from their private collection. The two-story facility would be a total of 7,500 square feet, with 4,415 being subgrade. The project went in front of Aspen City Council for the first time in January, and Institute officials are asking for waivers on mitigation parking, stormwater, trash storage and affordable housing, and is requesting an expedited land use and permit review.

Aspen Lodges See Busiest December Ever

Aspen lodges posted their best-ever occupancy numbers for the month of December in 2019, the Aspen Daily News reported. On the heels of last winter’s record-setting tallies of skier visits and occupancy, December 2019’s occupancy increased 2.4 percent in Aspen lodges to achieve 62.9 percent occupancy for the month. Snowmass lodges hit 52.2 percent, just shy of last year’s 52.3 percent. The two markets combined to beat last December’s occupancy numbers by 1.4 percent.

Eric’s Building Sells for $10.6 Million

The Casper family, longtime owners of Eric’s Bar, The Cigar Bar and Su Casa, sold the underlying real estate to a corporation controlled by developer Mark Hunt for $10.6 million, the Aspen Daily News reported. The Caspers will retain ownership of their businesses and they will remain in operation for the foreseeable future.

There are no immediate plans to redevelop the building, according to reports. A corporation tied to Hunt also owns the adjacent building at 305/307 S. Mill St., home to Grey Lady, which may be remodeled later this year. A corporation tied to Hunt also owns the Crystal Palace property across Hyman Avenue from Eric’s that is currently under construction and will reopen eventually as a boutique hotel. The deal with the Casper family includes 18 condominiumized spaces at 315 E. Hyman Ave. and the listing was advertised to include 9,847 square feet on three levels.

Former Main Street Bakery Redevelopment Moving Ahead

Citing their desire to have Main Street Bakery redeveloped into a diner, Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission members voted unanimously to approve a land-use plan for the high-profile property owned by developer Mark Hunt. HPC members lauded the project, which includes a new 900-square-foot building facing Main Street that will connect underground to a historically designated structure that has been on the property for 130 years. The 1889-built former Main Street Bakery building has been boarded up for more than three years, which many have said is an eyesore and a blight on downtown. Hunt is now waiting for the building permits to start construction, and those could come between now and 18 months.

Snowmass Village

More Snowmass Projects Nearing Completion

The Collective and mix6, Eye Pieces of Snowmass and Straight Line Studios all opened in December increasing activity in the Snowmass Base Village, the Snowmass Sun reported. The east One Snowmass building, which will include a mix of private residences and local businesses and was initially set to open in January, is still receiving its final touches. When completed, there will be 11 fractional and 19 whole ownership units in the east building, along with their amenities — including a private gym, pool deck and an Inspirato lounge open to all Inspirato members and One Snowmass residents — by mid-February. The new Snowmass Clinic will open in April after ski season.

Big Burn Set to be Replaced with Six-Pack Chairlift

One of the first high-speed chairlifts constructed at Snowmass Ski Area is reaching the end of its “operational lifetime” after 33 years and needs to be replaced, the Snowmass Sun reported. White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams approved Aspen Skiing Co.’s application to replace the high-speed quad chairlift with a six-pack, high-speed lift. The approval was signed Dec. 20. The approval gives Skico the green light to replace the lift in the summer.


Two Big Recycling Events to Help Cover Loss of Center

The governments of Eagle County and Basalt will team up to host two free “hard-to-recycle” events this year, the Aspen Times reported. The announcement comes after the governments decided they couldn’t provide the $120,000 subsidy needed to keep a public, drop-off recycling center open in Willits past the end of January.

The replacement recycling events will provide opportunities for midvalley residents to safely dispose of electronic waste such as computers and televisions, household hazardous waste such as paint and motor oil, metal appliances such as washers and dryers plus tires. There also will be collection dates for yard waste. Dates and locations for a spring and fall special recycling event are being explored.


Two Real Estate Firms Open Offices

Thanks to an expanding real estate market, firms are opening more offices. Engel & Völkers Carbondale recently opened an office on Main Street in Carbondale, joining its outposts in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Basalt, the Sopris Sun reported. Engel & Völkers is working with RM Construction to build condos and townhome at Thompson Park at the historic Thompson House site off Highway 133, which was built in the 1880s.

Also, Slifer Smith & Frampton (SSF) Real Estate has grown with the recent launch of SSF Commercial/Entrepreneurial Real Estate. Broker associate Mike Mercatoris reported the new team will be led by long-time local brokers, himself and Bob Langley. The new division is based in the CoVenture building on Main Street.

Carbondale’s Iconic Red Rock Diner Closes

Carbondale’s classic diner has closed after 25 years of operation, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. The Red Rock Diner sits near the intersection of Highway 82 and Highway 133. The owners say they hope to sell it, but the current business is unsustainable for a combination of reasons, including staffing and declining breakfast customers.

Glenwood Springs

Housing Inventory Drops

The inventory of homes for sale in Garfield County reached a 10-year low headed into 2020, while ever-increasing prices for all types of residential units are keeping things decidedly on the sellers’ side of the market, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported.

By the end of December 2019, Garfield County — including the communities of Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle and Parachute/Battlement Mesa — had seen its inventory of single-family homes fall to just three months of supply. That’s a 36.2% drop from the 4.7-month supply recorded at the end of 2018. In raw numbers, the county had 202 active single-family listings at the end of 2019, compared to 341 to close out the prior year.

 Gas Station May Be Turned into Recycling

The city of Glenwood Springs’ interest in removing a gasoline storage facility from downtown and some residents’ desire to move a recycling center back to Glenwood could soon come together, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. City council officially purchased a liquidated Western Petroleum property in the heart of Glenwood Springs for $250,000.

Pitkin County

Valley Mountain Biking Is Designated Gold-Level

The International Mountain Biking Association has named the Roaring Fork Valley as a gold-level “ride center,” making it the first destination in Colorado and the fifth in the nation to earn the designation, the Aspen Daily News reported. The designation elevates the valley’s mountain-biking trails from bronze status, which was attained in 2014.

The variety of riding in the valley was key in the designation, as well as the amenities available from restaurants and events to hotels and campgrounds to hospitals and transportation systems. From Glenwood Springs to Aspen, the valley boasts more than 300 miles of single track, ranging from technical forested climbs to lift-served flow trails. Of that, about 225 miles are classified as traditional single track, 46 miles are “bike optimized” and 23 miles — all at Snowmass Ski Area — are gravity bike trails, meaning they are served by a chairlift. In the past 10 years, 100 miles of new trails have been added.

Pitkin County Ranked Third Healthiest in Colorado

Data analysis looking at longevity, health behaviors and access to health care to determine the healthiest counties in Colorado ranked Pitkin County at No. 3, the Aspen Daily News reported.

Pitkin County ranked behind Boulder and Douglas counties, in second and first place, respectively. Eagle County was fifth on the list. Garfield County is the 20th healthiest, out of 64 counties in the Centennial State.

For health behaviors, Pitkin County is eighth in the state. Adult obesity and smoking rates, at 15.3 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively are both near the top for Colorado, however excessive drinking at 23.2 percent is above the state average of 19.2 percent. 

Sales Heading into a Strong 2020

Property deals in Pitkin County topped the $15 billion-mark last decade, which closed out with three consecutive years of at least $1.8 billion in total sales volume, according to public real estate data reported by the Aspen Times. Last November and December combined for more than $480 million in total Pitkin County real estate sales, ending a decade that saw the value of property transactions continue to rise against a background of a finite supply of residential listings on the market.

The average price of a single-family house in Aspen was $7.4 million through October, compared to $6.9 million for the first 10 months of 2018. Through October, single-family home sales in Snowmass Village averaged $5 million, up 47% from the previous year, and came on the heels of the expansion of Base Village with the December 2018 opening of the new Limelight Hotel and other properties.