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Aspen makes top 10 list of affluent communities

John Colson

Aspen is often described as one of the most exclusive and affluentplaces in the United States in which to live, visit and play.But this little hamlet high in the Rockies has for the secondyear in a row joined the likes of Florence, Italy; Sydney, Australia;and Toronto, Canada as one of the “top affluent communities” inthe entire world in which to live.At least, that’s the word from the Robb Report, a self-described”magazine for the affluent lifestyle” published monthly in Acton,Mass.In its second annual list, the magazine included Beverly Hills,Calif.; Manhattan, N.Y.; London, England; the Principality ofMonaco; Florence, Italy; Aspen; Cuernavaca, Mexico; Toronto, Canada;Palm Beach, Fla.; and Sydney, Australia (in that order) as the10 best places in the world to live when “you can make your homeanywhere in the world.”According to magazine staffers, the list is not ranked by priority,so the fact that Aspen is closer to the end of the list than thebeginning is not meant as a reflection of its caliber as a homefor the wealthy.Robb Report Publisher Dan Phillips said his magazine targets peoplewho make an average income of $755,000 per year and have a networth of $3.5 million. The magazine’s readers, Phillips said,are Fortune 500 CEOs, lawyers, doctors, professional athletesand generally “anyone with a salary far greater than most peoplemake.”But, he said, the criteria for drawing up the list is not merelydetermining what town has the most expensive real estate. Hencethe inclusion of such places as Toronto, Canada – not normallymentioned in conversations about the Hollywood jet set and theglitteratti that goes with it.”Family is a big part of the story,” Phillips said, noting thatthe criteria included such things as whether a community has goodschools and is “a good place to raise a family.”Of course, there are the usual qualities of affluent communities- high income brackets, the number of luxury services available,the night life, the social amenities offered by local clubs andorganizations.But there are other favorable attributes that receive consideration,such as the overall feeling of personal safety; the quality ofthe local schools; the presence of artistic, cultural and recreationalactivities; and whether the community is a place where one’s investmentin real estate is safe from sudden downturns.”Basically, it’s the fullest quality of life” that the list aimsto capture, Phillips said.He said the magazine consulted with three international companiesdealing in “high-end real estate” to come up with the list – Christie’sGreat Estates, Southeby’s International Realty and Knight FrankInternational. Based on the criteria given to the real estate agents, he said,the magazine compiled its list and published it in its April edition,which should hit the news stands soon.”Doing this job for 12 years, it’s hard to be surprised,” Phillipssaid of the names on the list, though he conceded that some ofthe names did give him pause.For example, he said, Beverly Hills is normally associated withsheer wealth and glitz, “but they have their own police department”to ensure the security of residents, he noted.And, he continued, “Who would figure that Aspen is a great placeto live year ’round?” He said his findings indicated Aspen hasstrong educational, cultural and recreational amenities in additionto skiing, and is a safe place to live and raise a family.Specifically, the article mentions a number of “more desirableareas for living,” in the Aspen area, including Red Mountain,Eagle Pines (six-acre lots in the $9 million to $10 million range),and Owl Creek (parcels of 50 to 60 acres priced at up to $24 million).In addition, Snowmass Village is cited as being “popular amongfamilies with children,” and interested buyers are alerted to”a new community that includes high-end townhomes and condos withski-in, ski-out access” being built at the base of Aspen Highlands.The article also notes “strict guidelines” governing developmentin Aspen, and the city’s two real estate transfer taxes for affordablehousing, day care and funding for the Wheeler Opera House.


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