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Addressing some misinformation

Dear Editor:

I would like to address some misinformation about our project at 625 E. Main St. (formerly known as the Stage 3 Theater) that was presented to the Aspen City Council at this Monday’s council meeting. In responding to misrepresentations made to the City Council, I only have the benefit of the information reported on the front page of The Aspen Times (“Height of buildings violates approvals, City Council is told,” March 24).

First, Aspen Main Street Properties, LP, the development partnership that owns the project, is neither in bankruptcy nor under any financial distress. Second, the project has not violated any height restrictions of project approvals as I’ll discuss in more detail.

In November, the development partnership made a decision to suspend construction on the project for six months due to the financial crisis and weakness in the Aspen real estate market. Similar decisions have been made on other projects from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. We’re hopeful that the economic and financial environment will improve enough in the next few months to make it feasible to restart construction on the project. We are now projected a completion date by mid-2010.

Despite our best efforts throughout the approval process to address the concerns of a small group of owners in the Concept 600 building who seem to have made these statements and misrepresentations to City Council on Monday night, they seem to want to continue to fight a battle over an issue of views from their building that are not part of a protected view corridor within Aspen.

Regarding the height of the building I can only assume these individuals must be talking about the elevator shaft and stair tower, as the building height of the rest of the building, including the top of the third floor roof, is below code and below what was approved by council.

The building design approved by City Council was conceptual in nature and it was through the subsequent permit process in working with the local building department, various code interpretations evolved the rooftop architectural elements. In our case, we were directed to fully enclose both the primary and secondary stairwells to meet fire safety code which added to the size of the previously approved rooftop housings. This code requirement considers the rooftop user exit safety for the City Council’s preference of a non-exclusive consolidated roof deck space. Furthermore, the elevator shaft is designed at the lowest possible height required by state codes while still complying with the height limitations in the C-1 commercial zone district.

It’s not uncommon for the building permit process to slightly alter an originally approved conceptual design. However in our case, the bulk of the building design substantially remains as approved by City Council and was not altered by the developer.

If the City Council has any unanswered questions concerning our project, I’m more than happy to provide answers.

Jeffrey G. Jones

manager, Aspen Main Street Properties, Ltd.


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