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Aspen Self Storage under contract

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” After two of the area’s more ambitious development partnerships walked away from it, a parcel of land at the north side of the Aspen Business Center is under contract for a reported price of $11.5 million.

Longtime local Scott Writer and a partner are planning to buy the land, which currently is the site of Aspen Self Storage. Sources have speculated the pair might be planning to use the land for employee housing, as mitigation for a development project.

At one time the parcel, roughly 2 1/2 acres, was under contract to local developer John Sarpa for a reported price of $10.5 million, according to sources in the local real estate industry who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Sarpa’s office said Friday that the contract was allowed to lapse and earnest money was returned.

Sarpa’s plans for the land apparently involved housing mitigation related to development at the base of Lift 1A on the Shadow Mountain side of Aspen Mountain. When the Aspen City Council rejected those development plans last year, Sarpa changed his mind on the ABC land.

The sources said that the Related WestPac partnership, headed up by Pat Smith, also looked at the property last year, but declined to buy it. Smith and WestPac currently are developing the Base Village project in Snowmass Village and have acquired a variety of parcels in Aspen and the lower Roaring Fork Valley.

Smith was ready to pay approximately $11.5 million to get the deal done, according to the sources. One source said Smith was going to pay $11.25 million for the land and an additional $250,000 to an unidentified real estate broker for engineering the sale.

If true, that would reflect a price of more than $105 per square foot. By comparison, the city of Aspen recently paid $90 per square foot for the nearby BMC West parcel.

The Self Storage land was being considered for use as high-priced storage space, the type that might be used to store art or antique and very valuable vehicles, the source said.

But, sources said, that deal, too, fell apart.

The land now is under contract for a third time, Cooley confirmed Friday, although he added somewhat ruefully, “I don’t know if that means anything.”

He said he is dealing with a limited liability company that he declined to name, for a price he also would not reveal, and claimed that he is not even sure who is the real buyer.

“There’s several people involved in it,” he said. “I’m not even sure what they want to do with it. They won’t tell me.”

Cooley built Aspen Self Storage, located at the back of the business center, in 1978.

The sources said the current purchase contract involves local developer Scott Writer and a partner, David Parker, and the price tag is believed to be more than the amount Smith was ready to pay.

Neither source contacted by The Aspen Times knew what is planned for the land, although one source speculated that Writer might hold it for later resale to a developer who needs it for affordable housing mitigation.

Writer could not be reached for comment Friday.

jcolson@aspentimes.com


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