The Aspen City Council will begin discussions Tuesday on the future of the building occupied by the Aspen Art Museum, which is vacating the space later this year for a new building in the downtown core.
Council members will discuss the pros and cons of the property, while considering dozens of proposed uses for the historic building. After soliciting ideas from the public, the city received 43 suggestions through phone calls, emails and the city’s website. Suggestions include uses in the following areas: arts, science, history, local law enforcement, nonprofit, private business, recreation and social networking. Also among suggestions is selling the building to a private entity for city revenue.
“The potential of allowing a variety of uses to occur within the building and on the property should be considered,” a memorandum to the council reads.
The council work session will be followed by an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the Rio Grande Meeting Room, where the public will have a chance to give further input on the future of the soon-to-be-vacant space.
The property, located at the intersection of Mill Street, Red Mountain Road and Gibson Avenue, is roughly 118,000 square feet, with parking for about 22 vehicles. Built in 1888 to house the old Hunter Creek Power Plant, the city has dubbed the building the “Old Power House.”
The council has the option to start a bidding process for the vacant space, but it will have to define bidding requirements first. While considering environmental, social and financial impacts, the council will narrow the list of options for the vacant space in the coming weeks.
With access to the Rio Grande and Lone Pine trails, the property has a park-like setting with mature vegetation and close proximity to the Roaring Fork River. It was originally used as the headquarters for the Roaring Fork Electric Light and Power Company and later used by Holy Cross Electric as a warehouse. The city purchased the building from Holy Cross in 1976, designated it historic in 1978 and leased it to the Art Museum in 1979.
Also on the agenda
The council also will be updated on the progress of sales and presales of 48 affordable-housing units in buildings 1 through 4 at Burlingame Ranch Phase II.
To date, two of the 48 units have sold, 23 are under sales contract and 22 are reserved but are not under contract. One three-bedroom category 6 unit remains unreserved.
With 13 of the 34 units in buildings 5 through 7 reserved, the council will decide how soon to move forward with construction of those buildings. A consent item, which would give final approval for construction of buildings 5 through 7, has been placed on the Jan. 27 council agenda. City staff has requested direction as to whether that consent item should remain on the Jan. 27 consent agenda or if it should be removed.
The proposed start date for construction of buildings 5 through 7 is April 1.