Another piece of Smuggler open space?
ASPEN One less multimillion-dollar home will be built on Smuggler Mountain if city and county officials decide to spend $500,000 to buy the land.The City Council is being asked to pitch in $250,000 toward the acquisition of eight acres of land left by the late Smuggler dweller Wilk Wilkinson. The purchase will leave only one remaining private parcel that could be developed in the popular recreational area.”We’re doing the best we can do to preserve the land up there,” said Jeff Woods, the city’s parks and recreation department manager. Since acquiring the majority of the Wilkinson estate in 2005 – 170 acres – the city and county have been focusing on acquiring the remaining undeveloped parcels on Smuggler. The opportunity to buy the Robert Emmit, Rainstorm and Snowstorm mining claims has recently presented itself. The city open space and trails board initially offered $300,000 for the properties. That offer was countered by real estate agent Debra Goldstein, who represents the estate.”The Robert Emmit held by Wilk’s estate is an immediate threat to the successful 2005 acquisition,” open space and special projects manager Brian Flynn wrote in a memo to the City Council. “The estate’s interest in the Robert Emmit could generate a partition action that could result in a piece of land subject to a development proposal and potentially a new single-family home.”The Robert Emmit parcel is located roughly at the first major switchback on Smuggler Road. The Rainstorm and Snowstorm properties are close to the observation deck, near the mine tailing piles leading toward the Hunter Creek Valley.The money would come equally from the city and county open space programs, in a deal hashed out by the City Council in an executive session on May 22.City officials last month saved another parcel from development on Smuggler by contributing $275,000 toward the purchase of a 4-acre parcel, also known as the Last Chance Claim, located next to the observation deck on Smuggler Mountain. The owner of the parcel that adjoins Last Chance wanted to buy the property and develop a 1,000-square-foot cabin.The acquisitions leave just one remaining site – the Smuggler mine – a 35-acre parcel on the face of Smuggler. “Our desire and our purpose for our involvement in that property is to develop it,” Denver-based attorney John Fognani told The Aspen Times in June. Fognani represents Hong Kong-based Investlink Enterprise Inc. which now owns the land.Mickie Flanigan sold the property to Summerlin Properties LLC for $1.45 million on Nov. 7, 2006. On the same day, Summerlin sold the 35 acres to Investlink Enterprise Inc. for the same price, according to Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office documents.Local governments six years ago offered $1.25 million for the property but it was turned down.”We’re cautiously optimistic that we can get that property,” Woods said.Carolyn Sackariason’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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