Aspen council approves Wheeler lease, nixes economic study
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The Aspen City Council tended to some pressing business during a Tuesday work session, approving a lease for the restaurant space in the Wheeler Opera House and nixing the business community’s desire for a new economic study to accompany the 2011 Aspen Area Community Plan.
The council on Monday had postponed a decision on the lease for Fiercely Local LLC, which in late March was chosen from a pool of four finalists to move into the Wheeler space currently occupied by Bentley’s. Some council members had questions about the lease terms and wanted another day to study the matter.
As a result, the terms were altered to remove a cap on the amount of revenue the city could receive from base rent and the “kicker,” a percentage of gross sales following a certain threshold. Another change increases the restaurant’s base rent each year by
3 percent or inflation, whichever is higher.
Council members also decided not to pursue the idea of a new economic study, a standing request by some members of the business community, including Aspen Chamber Resort Association Chairman Warren Klug, since early this year.
Business leaders have said the current draft of the 2011 community plan relies on outdated information from the pre-recession years that’s not in tune with current economic conditions. Some council members and Mayor Mick Ireland have said the study wouldn’t shed any new light on the overall community desires driving the plan’s revision.
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.