Aspen marijuana seller said to be considering Hyman mall
Ryan Summerlin February 17, 2015
A local marijuana seller is eyeing the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall for recreational pot sales, according to the Aspen City Clerk’s Office.
Green Dragon, which sells medical and recreational marijuana products in a space at 400 E. Hyman Ave. that sits below street level, is planning to move its recreational operation into the first floor of 409 E. Hyman Ave., City Clerk Linda Manning said Thursday.
The spot, directly underneath New York Pizza, is currently empty. For more than two years it was occupied by Koto Aspen, which sold novelty items and unusual furnishing objects before vacating the space during the spring.
Manning said she recently supplied application forms to Green Dragon owner Ron Radtke, who must seek approval for the move from the city’s Local Licensing Authority. Radtke could not be reached for comment Thursday.
If approved, Green Dragon would be the first pot purveyor to open directly on the city’s pedestrian mall, which despite its many bars and nightspots is sometimes marketed as a family-friendly area. While Green Dragon’s current space is just a stone’s throw from the Hyman mall, it doesn’t directly face it.
Green Dragon has received the paperwork it needs to apply for the move but has yet to turn in the application, Manning said. There are no city laws that would bar a pot shop from opening in the pedestrian mall, which includes parts of East Cooper Avenue, South Mill Street and South Galena Street as well as East Hyman Avenue.
The ground-floor spot at 409 E. Hyman Ave. has 1,360 square feet. There also is 1,280 square feet of basement space that would not necessarily be connected to a lease for the ground-floor space. Developer Mark Hunt bought the entire 3,920-square-foot building in July for $4.75 million.
Commercial real estate broker Karen Setterfield, who brokered the building sale for Hunt and the seller, Grand Junction-based P&L Properties, said she has not been involved in any negotiations for the lease of the ground-floor space.
“I sold the building,” Setterfield said. “I’ve heard that (Hunt) has a tenant, but I have no idea who it is.”
The Local Licensing Authority meets Sept. 2, but Manning said the agenda already has been set — it’s too late for the 409 E. Hyman Ave. space to be considered by the board on that date because the application has yet to be submitted. The board meets on the first Tuesday of each month.
Councilman Adam Frisch said he would have no problem with Green Dragon or any marijuana shop opening on the downtown pedestrian mall. The council decided in late July it would not try to cap the number of pot shops within city limits by extending a moratorium on new enterprises. Frisch was out of town when the decision was made, but he said he agrees with it.
Green Dragon, the second enterprise to offer recreational marijuana sales within Aspen’s city limits, would not have been affected by an extension of the cap.
“I personally don’t want to get involved in which private businesses can go where,” Frisch said. “My dream is not to see 50 pot shops in town and not to see 20 of them in the mall, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. If we have a few pot shops sprinkled around town, regardless if they are on the mall or somewhere else, I don’t think it’s an issue.”
Frisch said that while he appreciates the family-friendly aspects of the mall, he also understands that the pot trade is here to stay in Colorado. In November 2012, voters across the state approved a referendum allowing recreational marijuana to be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. Medical marijuana already was legal but not as accessible.
“I think that’s where Colorado is and where the rest of the country is going,” Frisch said. “There is a growing tolerance (about marijuana).”
The City Clerk’s Office also recently received a request by a company affiliated with John Meacham, of Old Snowmass, to open a medical marijuana sales operation in the Victorian house that was the former location of Poppies Bistro Cafe, which closed in early 2009. The building is at the corner of West Hallam and Eighth streets, near the S-curves.
Meacham & Co. LLC formally submitted the application this week, Manning said. The company registered as a limited-liability company with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office in March. It has a pending application with the state to sell medical marijuana, a first step before acquiring a municipal license.
Meacham could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Manning said the Local Licensing Authority will deal with two applications to sell recreational marijuana products on Sept. 2. Leaf Aspen and Alternative Medical Solutions, which already are licensed to sell medical marijuana in Aspen, want to expand their operations.
Leaf, located at 730 E. Cooper Ave., across the street from City Market grocery, wants to open a recreational pot shop in the North of Nell building off East Durant Avenue. Alternative Medical Solutions, which has a medical marijuana shop in an upstairs space near the El Rincon restaurant on South Mill Street, would sell recreational pot products in an office near its existing space, Manning said.