Lift 1A design moves forward
August 29, 2008
ASPEN ” The fleshed-out version of the master plan for the base of Lift 1A includes a stormwater diversion stream, an escalator carrying skiers through the proposed Lift One Lodge, and a series of underground throughways between three subgrade parking lots.
The Lift One Task Force on Tuesday unanimously approved the newest version of the plan, which was presented by Stephen Holley of Poss Architecture and Planning and Dave Carpenter of DHM Design.
Under their design, there would be three ways to enter the historic area: a ski path under the area would lead to Dean Street, and to the west of that, a dedicated pedestrian walkway would include a people-mover such as a covered escalator with a sidewalk next to it. And a vehicle-only road on South Aspen Street would carry cars and a mass transit element, such as a trolley, to the base of the mountain. The pedestrian and vehicular areas would be separated by a greenbelt.
Holley said he created the diversion stream in response to concerns about runoff. He added that the diversion would naturally filtrate sediment and provide irrigation for the greenbelt. It might also be able to generate micro-hydroelectricity, noted Zac Matthews, Lift One Task Force member.
The underground throughways connecting the parking garages were pitched in response to concerns about the underground tunnel beneath Gilbert Street in a previous sketch. The Gilbert Street tunnel was presented as a way for service vehicles to access the new hotels, but nearby homeowners criticized the concept.
One Gilbert Street resident, Glenn Monigle, said he preferred this new plan, which would funnel service vehicles underground from South Aspen Street, at the base of the Lift 1A area. Service vehicles would use the underground connections to access the two hotels, thus taking service vehicles off the street entirely.
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Hotel guests would also use the underground connections. As currently proposed, the plan has all guests entering the underground parking garage for the Lodge at Aspen Mountain at the base of South Aspen Street. Lift One guests would use the subgrade connection to access the Lift One parking garage. Gilbert Street may still be used as a secondary egress.
The developers of the two hotels both said they were willing to consider the plan, but had a few concerns.
“[The subgrade connection] makes the start date and the progress of the projects inextricably linked,” noted Bob Daniel of the development firm Chaffin, Wilhelm and Light. He also wondered about the legal and financial implications of having guests access the hotel via another lodge.
“From our standpoint … this is an exciting possibility for us,” said John Sarpa, of Centurion, developers of the Lodge at Aspen Mountain. “You also heard a couple of us say, as we started, ‘Wow, what’s the cost?'”
In a brief discussion about the question of assigning cost responsibility, particularly for elements that benefit the public good, Sarpa noted that he and his partners would certainly prefer to not pay the entire cost of the project. The possibility of the city contributing money was briefly raised.
Dave Bellack, Skico senior vice president, said that the company’s contribution was to build the new lift.
Having received approval for this level of detail, suggestions for the design and other elements of the two lodges to be built in the area will be gathered. The ideas will be presented at the next meeting of the Lift One Task Force on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hines Room at Aspen Meadows.
The new plan is also being discussed at meetings of the planning and zoning advisory board and the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), according to Chris Bendon, the city’s community development director.
Planning and zoning board members will make a recommendation to the Aspen City Council. The HPC does not operate as an advisory board, but actually has jurisdiction over the historic structures in the area, and so will have to approve the plan.
The Lift One Task Force has a Sept. 25 deadline to present a recommendation to Aspen City Council.