Isis deal finally final | AspenTimes.com

Isis deal finally final

Abigail EagyeAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN The Aspen City Council has dotted the is and crossed the ts on the deal to save the Isis Theatre.Although the council hammered out most of the details in a memorandum of understanding it signed in November, it still needed to approve formal lease and sublease agreements with the Isis Group LLC and Aspen Film, partners in the deal to keep the theater alive.With the final agreements, all thats left to do is market the certificates of participation, which will finance the deal, and to close on the property Feb. 15.This is it. Were done now, said Courtney Lord, a partner with the Isis Group.As part of the deal for the city to facilitate financing for the building, the Isis Group agreed to fill its portion of the ground floor with one or two midlevel retail stores.Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss opposed the terms of the sublease, which defines midlevel businesses, saying he wasnt satisfied with the list of representative stores.The list includes examples such as Gap, Banana Republic, Victorias Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch on the lower end, Ann Taylor, Anne Klein, Guess and Armani AX in the middle and Brooks Brothers, Lacoste and RL Ralph Lauren on the higher end of midlevel retail.It specifically excludes luxury stores along the lines of Bulgari, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, as well as budget chains such as Dress Barn, Lord said.DeVilbiss wanted the scope of midlevel retail to be far smaller, and he also wanted stronger language that the Isis Group would first seek to fill the space with a local business.The definition of midlevel is too broad, he said, and there isnt sufficient impetus to try to get locally serving businesses.Although Mayor Helen Klanderud agreed that a locally serving business would be ideal, she wasnt ready to make it a requirement of the lease.Lord said that he and his partners have been looking at local businesses in addition to the chains, but its not entirely up to them who is willing to sign a lease for the space.We live here, too, Lord said. Nothing would warm my heart more.For whatever its worth, right now the front-runner is a local tenant, said John Olson, a minor partner in the Isis Group.Despite concerns over what defines midlevel retail, several council members thought it would be inappropriate to impose further restrictions on the Isis Group this far into the game.This deal wouldnt exist if you hadnt made half of it you brought it to us, said Councilman Jack Johnson. I appreciate that.Johnson agreed a local business would be best but said that at this late a date, its unfair to put that restriction on you.Local developer and former council member Tim Semrau criticized the agreement, saying it isnt in the citys best interest and that the council could do better.With restrained frustration, Olson objected, suggesting that Semrau, who hasnt been part of the amazing amount of negotiations that led to the deal, might not be in the best position to recognize what had truly been accomplished.It has been unbelievably complicated and difficult, Olson said of a project that began as an amoeba.Despite his strong feelings about who would fill the retail space, DeVilbiss said the city likely couldnt hope to do better with so many variables.Weve been running this wheelbarrow down the street with a whole bunch of cats in it, he said. I think this is the best we can do.Abigail Eagyes e-mail address is abby@aspentimes.com

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