Aspen Police Department proposal inches forward
The Aspen Police Department’s mission to build a new headquarters cleared a formal hurdle with the City Council’s approval on first reading Monday.
The Police Department is proposing to redevelop city-owned land at 540 E. Main St. into an 18,515-square-foot cop shop accompanied by an eight-unit, 8,290-square-foot affordable-housing complex for municipal employees. The housing will include three one-bedroom, three two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units. Parking will be provided by the Obermeyer Place garage.
The Historic Preservation Commission, in its final of three hearings on the project, approved the proposal’s conceptual commercial design and other reviews April 27.
The preservation commission meetings, held in February, March and last month, resulted in the reduction of the police station’s height to 29 feet and 11 inches and reduction in the housing building’s mass.
“We did have three hearings with the (preservation commission), and I think this is the case where you can really say that the project came out better than when it came in,” said Alan Richman, a planner hired by the city for the project.
The approval came with the preservation commission’s recommendation to relocate the historic house, shed and barn from the Main Street property to the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum property, which is managed by the Aspen Historic Society. The relocated buildings would function as house museums on the open space, located just west of the Marolt pedestrian bridge off Seventh Street. The shed and house date back to 1885, and the barn is believed to have been built around 1938.
“The structures are to be used for a historic interpretation site,” said a memo written by Jennifer Phelan, the city’s deputy planning director, to the City Council. “Relocation to Holden/Marolt consolidates historic experiences in one location and the Aspen Historical Society is the natural organization to manage these resources.”
Richman said, “Moving the structures to Holden/Marolt really makes sense. You’re going to have a very enthusiastic Aspen Historical Society that is welcoming the structures and will put them to good use.”
The project returns to the council for a public hearing at its regularly scheduled meeting May 23.
Boogie’s building update
Also at Monday’s meeting, the council elected to not call up the preservation commission’s April 13 approval, a 4-2 vote, of a major remodeling of the Boogie’s building, located at 534 E. Cooper Ave.
New York-based development firm Thor Equities submitted plans in November to expand the building’s ground and second floors while vacating the structure’s previous approvals to build a top-floor penthouse.
Because the building’s net leasable area would be expanded to 13,374 square feet from the existing 9,895 square feet, Thor is required to create 3.8 additional parking spaces. Instead, it will pay $114,000 to the city as cash-in-lieu of creating the new parking spots.
Thor bought the building for $27.5 million from Leonard “Boogie” Weinglass in May 2015. The building was built in 1987. While it is not historic, it required review by the Preservation Commission because it is located within the city’s Commercial Core Historic District.
Given the United States is in the throes of a constitutional crisis, now isn’t the time for debates over who’s pictured on American currency and who’s memorialized with a statue on public property, two prominent historians told an audience in Aspen on Saturday night.
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