Holland House beds tabbed for worker housing | AspenTimes.com

Holland House beds tabbed for worker housing

Janet Urquhart

The new owners of the Holland House have worked out an arrangement to lease the vacant ski lodge to the Aspen Skiing Co. as housing for ski season workers this winter.With Aspen/Snowmass facing a housing crunch for this winter’s influx of ski-season workers, the currently empty Holland House would provide an additional 24 rooms to recent arrivals who are having trouble lining up a place to live.New owners purchased the Holland House in October; they are currently evaluating redevelopment options for the South Aspen Street property. In the meantime, the lodge could serve as housing, said attorney David Myler, representing the owners.”We just wanted to try to put the building to some kind of good use while we’re trying to figure out what to do with it,” Myler said.”The Holland House is sitting there. It’s empty,” Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said. “We saw this as an opportunity to house some additional employees.”Myler said he has negotiated a master lease with the Skico; the company can then rent the units to workers. An application for a temporary-use permit, necessary for the arrangement, has been submitted to the city. It is scheduled for review by the Aspen City Council on Dec. 12.The Holland House rooms don’t have kitchens, and some of them don’t have individual bathrooms, but they could provide dorm-style housing. In the past, the lodge has housed Aspen Music Festival and School students during the summer.Aspen’s city-owned seasonal housing filled up quickly this fall, leaving some workers who had arranged jobs for the ski season unable to find housing. A number of them are young foreigners who have obtained work visas for the winter.The Skico also has 200 beds of its own to house employees, but they’ve been full for some time, Hanle said.While the Skico isn’t hiring more employees than usual, other employers may be doing so in response to a strong winter in 2004-05, he speculated. In addition, the work force for a booming construction industry is apparently putting greater demand on rental housing.The Colorado Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing, which has released its statewide vacancy and rent survey for the third quarter of 2005, made note of the tight local market.Aspen has a 1.6 percent vacancy rate – the lowest of the markets the division surveyed. That compares to an 11 percent vacancy rate for the resort in the third quarter of 2004 and an 18 percent vacancy rate in the third quarter of 2003, according to a division representative.The overall state vacancy rate for the market areas surveyed and the metro Denver area is 8.6 percent, according to the division.The average overall rent per square foot ranges from a low of 44 cents in Fort Morgan and Brush to a high of $1.39 in Aspen, according to the agency.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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