A massive albatross | AspenTimes.com

A massive albatross

Dear Editor:

I understand that the Wheeler Opera House bought the land next door to their existing structure with plans to eventually expand into that space. But what has been proposed by their design team in initial presentations to the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission is a massive albatross of a building, way too big for Aspen’s small town character.

The plan should definitely work on saving the trees in the front of the lot. There are about 20 fairly developed aspen and pine trees there, and taking those out would be a crime ” so I think building on the back of the lot (where cars currently park) should be the only option, thereby creating a permanent park space on the Hyman Avenue street side. That would be the most altruistic, eco-friendly thing to do. More park space in the downtown core, albeit small, is always a plus.

Sandwiching an addition of this grand size between two historic buildings is a mistake ” it is simply too big. I remember all the negative feedback that was thrown to the Mother Lode redevelopment project, and this building exceeds the height of the Mother Lode! It is a political contradiction for an addition, especially an addition to a historic structure like the Wheeler, to gain support from the city of Aspen when a host of other similar large projects have been denied approval time and again in recent years ” please do not approve this behemoth of a building, while denying so many other applications for the same reason!

The Wheeler is fine the way it is. We don’t need yet another basement theater in town ” we have enough theaters already. I’m all for a tasteful, relatively small addition, but I’m completely against another massive structure in a town that has too many large buildings already. Please, once and for all ” let’s keep the small town character small.

Josh Tukman


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