An extremely Aspen deal: Group named after line from ‘Aspen Extreme’ acquires downtown building for $33M

LLC named after line from ‘Aspen Extreme’ acquires downtown building for $33 million

The new owner of the Aspen Athletic Club building downtown apparently not only likes to dream big, but to spend big also.

A limited liability company called Dream Big or Don’t Dream at All Baby dropped $33 million on the 720 E. Hyman Ave. building that hit the market in early March for $29.95 million. A special warranty deed filed Monday in the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office reflected the transaction.

“We probably showed or presented it to about 60 different brokers and buyers, and we had over a dozen offers and offer contracts, all really good,” said broker Karen Setterfield of Setterfield & Bright, who with firm colleagues Galen Bright and Alma Garrett represented the buyer and seller in the transaction.

The Aspen Athletic Club building went on the market for $29.5 million March 8 and sold for $33 million on Monday.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

The sellers, through CM LLC, were Evan Christian and the family trust of the late John Martin. The two Kiwis paid $6.9 million for the property in 2006, according to property records.

A looming deadline also came into play. The property comes with a city-approved building permit for two penthouses on the building’s top floor. July 15 is the deadline to pull the building permit for the penthouses, with construction to begin within six months, according to a marketing brochure for the property.

“They’re planning to build the penthouses because the permits are ready to pick up,” Setterfield said.

Regarding the new owner, Setterfield said she could not reveal the actual person or people behind the LLC until getting their clearance. Aspen attorney Joe Krabacher, who on April 5 filed paperwork with the Colorado Secretary of State establishing the Dream Big or Don’t Dream at All Baby LLC, declined comment Tuesday.

Setterfield said the new ownership has a home in Aspen.

An ordinance Aspen City Council adopted in 2012 bans the construction of penthouses and condominiums in the downtown core. But that same year, the City Council gave its blessing for two penthouses at the Aspen Athletic Club Building in exchange for giving it a historic-landmark designation. The landmark distinction preserves the building’s exterior in its original version.

The penthouse space could have been acquired separately, but the new owner decided to take on the entire building.

The building’s 21,332 square feet of commercial and office space was listed for sale at $14 million, where permitted commercial uses include retail, restaurant, hotel, bed and breakfast, academic, arts and culture, and recreational, among others.

Additionally, the 6,400 square feet of penthouse space and a rooftop deck was marketed for $15.95 million.

Construction on the Aspen Athletic Club building, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright-trained architect Robin Molny, was completed in 1976.

The building’s current tenants use office space and are on month-to-month leases, with the exception of Jean Robert’s Gym, which uses the top floor and some basement space for its fitness facility. The gym also rents month to month. Gym owner Jean Robert Barbette could not reached for comment.

Fans of the 1993 cult classic “Aspen Extreme” should be familiar with the new ownership’s moniker.

“Dream big or don’t dream at all baby” — Dexter Rutecki made that epic declaration — was ranked the fifth-best line in the ski-bum movie by the Aspen Historical Society in advance of its January 2016 screening at the Isis Theatre.