Aspen City Council kicks Hotel Lenado redevelopment back to P&Z
January 13, 2016
A proposal to redevelop the Hotel Lenado into a commercial project that would include a hotel, condominiums and affordable housing is headed back to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Citing concerns about how the project would clash with the complexion of the surrounding neighborhood, Aspen City Council voted 4-0 to remand the proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which had voted 5-0 in the project's favor in November. The Planning and Zoning Commission's approval was for the conceptual commercial design and growth management reviews.
Council members mulled the proposal for more than 90 minutes before making their decision at 10:50 p.m.
It was the latest development for a proposal that has gone through numerous iterations in an effort to get a blessing to proceed. But council members, including Mayor Steve Skadron, expressed skepticism about the project at 200 S. Aspen St. Their decision reflected the recommendation made by the Community Development Department, which opposes the project because of concerns that it's out of character with the surrounding neighborhood.
"I think the community is better served with a smaller project here," said Skadron, who suggested that the developer, DCBD2 LLC, build a single-family home or duplex instead.
DCBD2, which was represented Monday by architect Steev Wilson, has scaled down its proposal to include four lodge units with nine keys, two free-market condos and two affordable-housing units. The 28-foot-tall project would have an estimated floor area of 10,500 square feet.
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The existing 13,000-square-foot Hotel Lenado was built in 1983 by Woody Creek resident Daniel Delano and Frank Peters of Aspen. In May 2013, the two sold the 19-bedroom lodge for $11.88 million to DCBD2.
"What I see is a corporate retreat with some hotel rooms stuck on it," Skadron told Wilson, noting he wasn't convinced the project would offer much community value. Skadron asked Wilson if he could provide guarantees that the hotel would financially succeed.
"I have to guarantee you success of the business model?" Wilson responded. "How is that possible?"
Wilson said he sensed distrust among council members about the project.
"You're suggesting that I'm lying to you," he said, insisting it would be operated as a hotel, but the proposal is limited because it only has 8,000 square feet to build a lodge.
"There's just not much there for a lodge," he said. "So I'm trying to do the best with what we have."