A public hearing is set for today on the proposed demolition of the Mountain House Lodge, as the Aspen City Council prepares for an official vote.
MarMax Haytel LLC — the entity that came into ownership of the 26-room lodge through a bankruptcy agreement in December — is aligned with HayMax Capital LLC, which is controlled by Michael and Aaron Brown, owners of the Hotel Aspen and Molly Gibson Lodge. In its application to the city, MarMax proposes to divide the 12,000-square-foot lot into two 6,000-square-foot lots, with the intention of demolishing the lodge and building two single-family homes.
In April, during first reading, Mayor Steve Skadron asked if there were any pre-existing restrictions on the property from 1989, when it was rezoned for lodge preservation as part of an expansion.
“Must it remain lodging inventory?” Skadron asked.
According to a memorandum to the council, none of the prior approvals requires that the property to remain a lodge.
At the same meeting, Councilman Adam Frisch asked if the 2013 bankruptcy agreement has any effect on existing approvals or restrictions. It does not, the memo states.
The underlying zone district on the property, located at 905 E. Hopkins Ave., requires a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet and a minimum lot width of 60 feet. The proposed lots would be exactly 6,000 square feet in size and 60 feet wide, thereby conforming to the requirements.
City staff has recommended approval of the application under the following condition: that the Mountain House Lodge be removed prior to recordation of the final plat, but in no case later than 180 days of approval of the ordinance.
The original structure was built in the early 1960s on a 4,500-square-foot lot as a single-family home, but was quickly converted to lodge use. The lodge went through a major renovation in 1986-87 to develop what is currently the eastern mass of the structure into a more traditional lodge configuration. In 1989, the property was rezoned to Lodge Preservation as part of a remodeling and expansion in order to allow the lodge to extend onto the adjacent 2.5 parcels to the west.
The bankruptcy deal, which closed in December, came after the bed and breakfast was on the verge of being sold at a foreclosure auction in March. That same month, the Aspen City Council even considered buying the lodge after its fiscal woes surfaced.