ASPEN --Two downtown commercial buildings were officially sold on Monday, capping a frenzied year of real estate transactions in Pitkin County.
What's known as Ellie's Building at 101 S. Mill St. - the home of American National Bank, Pinon's restaurant and retailers Lululemon Athletica and Bandana - closed for $12 million. The seller was Ellie's Building LLC, a holding company managed by Andrew Hecht, Ronald Garfield and Steven Hansen.
The buyer was Aspen Branch Holdings LLC, managed by Sturm Financial Group Inc. of Denver. Sturm Financial is the parent company of American National Bank, which has more than 30 banking branches in Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas, including the Aspen location. Thus, the banking company was purchasing the structure from its longtime landlord.
The building, at the corner of East Main and South Mill streets, was constructed in 1886. In the mid-1950s, it became the home of a ski shop operated by Elli Iselin, an Austrian competitive skier who made Aspen her home and helped the city to become recognized as a winter resort.
Through her store, she also introduced European ski fashions to the state for the first time. She died in 1991. Though the building was officially named "Ellie's," there is no "e" at the end of Iselin's first name.
Another sale logged at the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder's Office on Monday involved Amelia's Building at 407 E. Hyman Ave., in the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall.
It sold for $3.2 million. The seller consisted of four separate parties: Amelia Kopp, Stan Kopp, Robert Zupancis and the Amelia L. Kopp Family Trust, according to Karen Setterfield, of Setterfield and Bright, the broker on the deal. The buyer was listed only as 407 E. Hyman Ave. LLC, and Setterfield declined to name the person or people behind that company.
Currently the 3,570-square-foot building's tenants are Noori's Collection on the second floor and Aspen T-Shirt Co. on the first floor. The building had been listed for $3.5 million and was on the market for four years, Setterfield said.
"The buyer has not decided what he wants to do with the building," Setterfield said.
The two Monday transactions follow two other high-profile commercial closings on Friday: the 47-year-old 16,900-square-foot Mountain Plaza, at the corner of East Cooper Avenue and South Galena Street, for $22 million; and the 27-year-old, 9,700-square-foot Volk Plaza, across South Galena Street from Mountain Plaza, for $17.25 million.
Mountain Plaza has many tenants, including Kemo Sabe, Ryno's Pies and Pints, Le Tub and Keating Fine Art Gallery. Volk Plaza houses Paradise Bakery. Plans call for a redevelopment of the Mountain Plaza lot, which would mean tearing down the existing structure. No such plans are in the works for Volk Plaza, Setterfield said.
She noted that expected changes this year to capital-gains and estate tax laws led to the flurry of real estate activity in late 2012 in Pitkin County and across the United States.
At more than $1.46 billion recorded in 2012, the dollar volume of all Pitkin County real estate sales bested the annual levels from 2008 through 2011 but still falls short of 2007's $2.52 billion.