Aspen council mulls Little Annie’s building |

Aspen council mulls Little Annie’s building

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen City Council meets Monday and is expected to discuss how to handle negotiations related to the proposed redevelopment of the Little Annie’s and Benton buildings and construction of a nearby third building on East Hyman Avenue.

Aspen Core Ventures LLC wants to redevelop those structures, which it owns, as well as build a three-story, mixed-use commercial building at the corner of East Hyman Avenue and South Hunter Street. The company is asking to negotiate through the city’s AspenModern program, which seeks to protect historically significant 20th century structures while allowing concessions in other areas of development.

City of Aspen senior planner Sara Adams said the Aspen Core Ventures’ request will mark the first negotiation under AspenModern, a program created in the fall of 2010.

In exchange for historic designation and protections for the Little Annie’s and Benton buildings – to save them from demolition or significant alterations – the developer is asking for a waiver of affordable-housing mitigation for the new building, which would have 25,550 square feet of floor space with retail and office space for lease on the first and second floors.

The third story would contain a 7,000-square-foot free-market penthouse residence, which would exceed the city’s 2,000-square-foot cap on residential units in the commercial core district.

“The first question to the council is, do they want to negotiate with the developer through Aspen Modern for the restoration and preservation of the two buildings?” Adams said. “The second question is, how do you want to negotiate? AspenModern leaves the door open for different methods of negotiation.”

She said the council could direct the Community Development Department to negotiate with Aspen Core Ventures. Or it could appoint a council representative to handle the task privately. A third option would be for all four council members and Mayor Mick Ireland to negotiate with the property owner in a public setting.

The council also will hold a public hearing on a request by Theatre Aspen to keep its tent structure in place at Rio Grande Park year-round. Though the group’s season runs from late May to early September, the structure would remain there during the winter without its canvas covering.

The tent structure is currently standing in the park so that residents can get an idea of the visual impact of leaving the frame in place during winter. So far, two residents have written to the city to protest the plan, as it’s currently designed, to allow the structure’s presence on a year-round basis.

Theatre Aspen also is seeking to build a permanent lobby and ticketing structure on the site.

The council meeting starts at 5 p.m. in Aspen City Hall.

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