Aspen lifts veil on latest Lift One | AspenTimes.com

Aspen lifts veil on latest Lift One

ASPEN – Various aspects of a proposed lodge at the base of Lift 1A at Aspen Mountain received mixed feedback from Aspen City Council members at a meeting Tuesday.

While Councilman Dwayne Romero said he was pleased with the direction the project is taking, two of his colleagues, Steve Skadron and Torre, voiced skepticism about its character, and whether it fits the desires of the community.

Their remarks came as Bob Daniel, who represents developers David Wilhelm, Jim Chaffin and Jim Light, gave an overview of the project as it pertains to its economic and environmental sustainability, room sizes, affordable housing mitigation, ski area and ski racing operations, and pedestrian and traffic movement.

The meeting was a continuation from the Sept. 28 conceptual PUD/timeshare public hearing with council members, in which the project’s architecture, scale and mass were addressed. The project will go before council again on Oct. 26.

Among Daniel’s offerings Monday were that the 114,000-square-foot lodge will provide housing to its entire staff, estimated to be between 45 and 55 employees. Forty percent of those workers would be housed on the Lift One Lodge premises, he said.

A total of 216 fractional memberships would be offered in 27 suits, ranging from 270 square feet to 882 square feet. The average room size would be 526 square feet, Daniel said.

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“We believe this project has economic sustainability,” Daniel said, contending that fractional owners will spend an average of 28 nights at the Lift One Lodge, a number that is comparable to the second-home owners in the Aspen area. Vacant rooms would be available for nightly rental, Daniel said.

“You’re achieving a lot of the core goals for the community,” Romero said.

He added: “At the conceptual level at this moment, I’m liking the direction this is taking.”

Skadron and Torre, however, questioned certain aspects of the project. Chief among their reservations is whether the project meshes with the desires of Aspen.

“We’re looking at a community trade-off about character and who we are,” Torre said. “We’re asking a lot for the space and the direction it’s going.”

Even so, Torre said he “likes the direction it’s going.”

Skadron pressed Daniel on room rates and how the lodge will be economically viable. The councilman also expressed concerns that the character of the Lift 1A area could be eroded by the Lift One Lodge.

“What’s important to me is the essence of the Lift 1A skiing experience is maintained,” he said.

Mayor Mick Ireland also wondered aloud whether the average room size of 526 square feet might be necessary.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com