Another buyer for Crystal Palace |

Another buyer for Crystal Palace

ASPEN ” The Crystal Palace is under contract to be sold by the end of October, said the commercial real estate broker who is handling the deal.

But anything more than those bare essentials “is supposed to remain confidential,” said Ruth Kruger of Aspen-based Kruger and Co.

Tuesday’s Aspen Times reported that one prospective buyer, Snowmass Base Village developer Pat Smith, had walked away from a deal to buy the property from impresario and owner Mead Metcalf, who has owned and operated the popular dinner theater for more than half a century.

But what apparently was not known to sources, who confirmed that Smith had canceled his purchase plans, is that “a backup offer” was already on the table and a new contract was signed “shortly after the other one fell through,” Kruger said.

Kruger declined to name the price Metcalf is getting for the business and the property, which reportedly was on the market for around $15 million at one point.

But the buyer, she said, is “someone who has a home here” but is not an Aspen business owner.

Kruger said the buyer is “a party that’s been interested since the very beginning,” when Metcalf put the property on the market earlier this year, and that there is “a string of interested buyers” still waiting in the wings.

As for the future of the Crystal Palace dinner theater operation, Kruger said, the buyer is thinking about ways to keep it rolling.

“They’re looking to see how they can make that feasible,” she said, although she declined to say whether the buyer had talked with Metcalf’s employees. There was interest among some employees to somehow take on operation of the dinner theater themselves, an idea that had interested one-time prospective buyer Greg Hills of Austin Lawrence Partners.

“It’s the desire of everyone to see the operation continue, if it’s financially feasible,” Kruger added.

John Colson’s e-mail address is

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