Real Estate In The News – September 2020

“Of all possessions…..a friend is the most precious.” ~ Herodotus

This year has been one heck of a roller coaster ride, from a real estate market that was nearly dead silent from the end of March until Mid-June, to one that rebounded with great fervor.  It was exciting and scary at the same time.  Sales have exceeded all expectations in all locations in the Roaring Fork Valley!  Inventory has become scarce. Surprisingly,  more and more listings are being placed on the market despite this being September, a time typically when families are focused on settling in for the school year.

We’re not sure when this activity will end, but I’ll do my best to continue to make YOU, my clients, happy! 


Mark Hunt Purchases Questioned by Prospector HOA

Two limited liability companies controlled by prominent Aspen commercial landlord Mark Hunt have been buying up fractional shares in the Prospector Condominiums over the past year. To prevent a takeover of the property, the homeowners’ association — known as the Prospector Fractional Owners’ Association, or PFOA — has attempted to limit how much control Hunt’s entities can have and they’ve filed a lawsuit, the Aspen Daily News reported.

Between July 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020, Aspen Fractional Holdings, LLC and 301 East Hyman Avenue, LLC were the grantees of 15 fractional “estates” in the Prospector. The fractionals were sold in one-fifteenth shares, and the sale prices ranged from $10,000 to $52,000. The Prospector — located at 301 E. Hyman Ave. — remains the final property on the 300-block of East Hyman Avenue not already controlled by Hunt and his partners, who have acquired 17 commercial properties for around $160 million since 2010.

Aspen Sojourner on Hiatus

The parent company of Aspen Sojourner, SagaCity Media, announced that its publications in mountain town communities would take a “hiatus” following the recent publication of their summer/fall books, the Aspen Daily News reported. Normally, the magazine publishes bi-monthly during the high seasons. Sojourner’s entire local staff was laid off, save for veteran publisher Nancy Mayer, who was furloughed. Park City Magazine, Colorado Summit and Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine were also impacted.

Isis Theatre Reopens

Isis Theatre reopened at the end of August, the Aspen Times reported. Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Theatres Corp. said that Isis Theatre and four of its other 16 cinemas — two others in Colorado, one in Utah, one in Idaho — would open in August after being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

New York-based Bow Tie Cinemas also announced the projectors would resume rolling at Movieland 7 in El Jebel. Movieland shut down for three months because of the pandemic, reopening in mid-June with limited seating and other public-health order restrictions. The seven-screen cinema, the largest in the Roaring Fork Valley, closed again in mid-July for undisclosed reasons.

Snowmass Village

Daly Diner Opens

The Daly Diner, which opened in the former Village Tavern space at the Snowmass Center, is now serving up American comfort foods for breakfast and lunch. Headed by Stacy Forster and Heather Huber, co-owners of Taster’s Pizza, the new diner takes after the Wildcat Café, which was one of the handful of restaurants that has occupied the same space since Forster opened Taster’s in 2001, and will add to the village’s shortlist of dine-in breakfast options.


Steadman Clinic Submits Building Plans to Town

Steadman Clinic, the renowned orthopedic care facility headquartered in Vail, submitted plans to the town of Basalt for a 50,000-square-foot structure in Willits Town Center, the Aspen Times reported. Steadman is seeking approval to start work on the foundation of the building this summer. The clinic is headquartered in Vail and has branches in Frisco and Edwards. Steadman signed a letter of intent with Aspen Valley Hospital earlier this year to take over OrthoAspen in a strategic partnership.

Steadman purchased property at the intersection of Harris Street and Willits Lane last year. The clinic will be adjacent to an Aspen Skiing Co. affordable-housing project currently under construction. The plan submitted to Basalt said the medical office building would have three stories above grade with 43,075 square feet of commercial space and 6,778 square feet for public circulation. There will be a 44,127-square-foot underground parking garage. The plans said there would be 80 off-street parking spaces and 48 on-street spaces.


Red Hill Improvements Complete

After several months’ worth of construction, the popular Red Hill Recreation Area near Carbondale reopened Sept. 1, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. Improvements include separate dedicated parking areas for park-and-ride commuters and for trail access, and a newly aligned Garfield County Road 107 that provides a straighter route to residences in the area. The former small parking area situated on the hairpin turn that commuters and trail users shared is now replaced by two, larger dedicated parking lots on the northwest side of the intersection. The old historic trailhead about a quarter-mile up the road has been decommissioned and is no longer accessible. The lower parking area is for commuter parking and overflow trail parking.

New City Market Opens

City Market’s new 62,000-square-foot store and adjacent commercial development is finally done, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. It replaces the roughly 40,000-square-foot leased store space in the commercial plaza at the southwest corner of Main and 133 that has served as Carbondale’s main grocery store since the 1980s.

The new store is part of the larger land development on the property owned by Crystal River Marketplace, LLC. Besides the grocery store, the development includes the First Bank facility that opened last year, plus new residential units along West Main Street. The new City Market store features an expanded produce department, full-service meat and seafood departments, an expanded deli, a Starbucks outlet, and a drive-through pharmacy.

Group Formed to Save Crystal Mill

A group of people from all over Colorado are banding together to save the Crystal Mill from disrepair, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. Located in the Crystal River Valley, the Crystal Mill is actually an old powerhouse built in the 1890s to help miners extract resources from the nearby silver mines. The mill, however, is not a protected historic site. It’s privately owned, and as more visitors come each year, the owners are ready to pass on the land’s legacy to someone else.

The Crystal Mill Foundation was created and officially received its nonprofit 501c3 designation June 4 with a goal to raise $10 million in the next year. Five million would go to the purchase of the mill, and the other $5 million would pay for the installation of much needed health and safety improvements.

Glenwood Springs

Forest Fund Set Up to Help in Grizzly Creek Fire’s Wake

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) has established the new White River National Forest Restoration Fund where donations can be made to support restoration efforts on the forest, including the Grizzly Creek Fire burn area in Glenwood Canyon, the Glenwood Springs Independent reported. The NFF is the U.S. Forest Service’s congressionally designated partner that can solicit funds to support public lands restoration and maintenance efforts.

The Grizzly Creek Fire began on Aug. 10 in and above the Colorado River canyon, and has since grown to more than 32,000 acres. Donated funds will be made available to the White River National Forest and its partners to implement a variety of projects that will be identified to help restore the landscape, including infrastructure for public access in areas including the Grizzly and No Name creek trails, and the Hanging Lake area.

Pitkin County

Bookings in Aspen/Snowmass Down Due to Covid, Wildfires

Bookings in Aspen were down, but not as much as expected in July, according to a lodging report released in early August, reported by the Aspen Daily News. The overall occupancy decrease for July was only 28.1%, despite the impacts on tourism from the COVID-19 situation. Loss of group business and events are the main drivers for occupancy loss.

Come August, bookings were pacing similarly behind, but after I-70 closed due to the Grizzly Creek Fire and smoke cloaked the valley, tourist numbers dropped. The July 31 booking numbers show that lodging for “summer” — the period from May to October — is pacing at 24% occupancy, down 47.3%. Noted, however, is that these statistics are for commercial lodging and not of owner-occupied housing, nor privately rented units, which by all accounts is quite high this summer.

Delta Suspends Winter Service to Aspen

Delta Air Lines won’t be resuming its service to Aspen this winter, the Aspen Daily News reported. The airline did say it remains committed to Aspen and will return at some point.

The suspension will leave the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport with two commercial carriers, United and American, for the upcoming ski season. Delta hasn’t flown into or out of Aspen since July 7. The following day, the airline cut its daily ASE-to-Salt Lake City route, but there were plans to resume winter service from Atlanta and Los Angeles.

 APCHA Director Resigns

Mike Kosdrosky, director of the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority since 2015, announced his resignation in August, the Aspen Daily News reported. His accomplishments during his tenure include APCHA’s efforts to digitize its systems and increased efforts to make sure residents are complying with the regulations of the housing program.

The resignation came after more than a year of comments from Kosdrosky in public settings calling his role untenable, though he did not give a reason for departure in his resignation letter to the city. The Aspen Times reported that Kosdrosky requested a pay raise to align more closely with that of housing directors in comparable municipalities, but was denied.

Home Sells for $31.8 Million

A Red Mountain home on Placer Lane sold for $31.8 million in August, making it Pitkin County’s most expensive home sale so far this year, the Aspen Times reported. The transaction also equated to $3,180.55 per foot. The new seven-bedroom, 10-bathroom home was designed by Ro Rockett Design of California.

More Private Jets Land at Sardy Field

While the number of commercial airline passengers flying into Aspen continues to incrementally increase, the number of private flights has gone through the roof, the Aspen Times reported. Even without events like Food & Wine or Ideas Festival this year, the number of private flights in June compared with June 2019 increased by more than 5%.

Meanwhile, commercial airline passenger traffic continues to rise, though July’s numbers are still just one-third of the numbers posted in July 2019. Around 10,000 passengers came and went from Aspen in July, which nearly triples the number of commercial airline passengers from June.