Aspen commercial center in play

Rick CarrollAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN A group of investors has acquired part of the Mill Street Commercial Center for $3.8 million in a deal sources say is the first step in overhauling the two-building complex that houses nearly 20 businesses.Seven limited liability corporations – which are headed by such Aspen businessmen as Andrew Hecht, Ronald Garfield, Steven Hansen, as well as a Dallas investor – combined to buy the building at 557 N. Mill St., according to public records. The three-level, 8,000-square-foot building includes such businesses as Studio B Architects and Aspen Glow Tan. The ramshackle brick structure is tucked behind the 445 N. Mill St. building, which has a collection of storefronts including a bike shop, a coin-operated laundry and a video store. Both buildings are zoned Service-Commercial-Industrial.Records show the LLCs, formed last month, bought the property from Ronald Soderling and John Provine. Soderling and Provine acquired the building for $3.6 million in October 2005, and in June paid $10 million for the 445 N. Mill St. structure.Insiders knowledgeable of the deal, which the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s office registered Monday, said it underscores a project calling for demolition of both buildings, replacing them with a project modeled after Obermeyer Place. Two sources said the main building – a two-floor, 20,000-square-foot structure across Puppy Smith Street from Clark’s Market – is under contract for sale. But for now, any scrape-and-replace project is no more than a concept because of the city’s moratorium on building permit applications, set to expire May 31.Provine was out of town and not available for comment, and messages left with investors were not returned. Soderling also did not return calls. “We generally don’t comment on stuff of this matter,” said an assistant to Dallas investor Harlan Korenvaes, one of the buyers listed in public records.Provine’s attorney, Leonard Oates of Aspen, would not go into specifics about the transaction. “I can only talk about what is in the public record,” he said. “How this transaction relates to it overall, I can’t discuss.”The deal was news to at least one tenant, while others were privy to the transaction.”Whatever happens, we’re all here until 2008,” said Rockei Deliciadeguerra, who owns a costume shop and suntan business in the building’s lower level. Deliciadeguerra said she feels secure with her lease but was unaware of the sale.”They didn’t tell me,” she said. Ryan Hoffner, an associate with Studio B Architects, said the purchase won’t impact his firm. That’s because next month it’s moving around the corner to Obermeyer Place on Bleeker Street.”We’ve been hearing a lot of things, but it won’t affect us,” he said. Last year, Provine said he would be seeking investors for plans to demolish and replace the building. Provine’s LLC, North Mill Ventures, also is listed in records as providing the 465 N. Mill St. building as collateral for a $5 million loan the seven LLCs took out.While most of the deal was recorded Monday, the transaction’s beginnings date back to Feb. 20, records show. That’s when Hansen’s LLC paid $220,000 for a 2.35 percent interest in the building.This week Hansen’s LLC acquired another 6.34 percent of the building, and the rest of the deal breaks down as follows:• Mill Street Capital Partners LLC, controlled by Timothy Presutti, acquired a 17.39 percent stake in the building;• DO Mill Street LLC, under the name of Douglas Ostrover, bought 13.04 percent;• NH Mill Street LLC, under Nikos Hecht’s name, 19.57 percent;• KCP Mill Street LLC, controlled by Korenvaes, 19.57 percent;• AVH Mill Street LLC, which is listed under Andrew Hecht’s name, 19.57 percent;• RG Mill Street LLC, under Garfield’s name, 2.17 percent.Rick Carroll can be reached at