Aspen Skiing Co. buys Limelight for $38 million |

Aspen Skiing Co. buys Limelight for $38 million

ASPEN – The Aspen Skiing Co. has purchased the Limelight Lodge for nearly $38 million, according to closing documents filed with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s office.

The sale closed earlier this week and was recorded by Stewart Title on Thursday. The official sales price is $37,925,000.

The Skico took possession of the 126-room hotel located at 335 S. Monarch St. across from Wagner Park earlier this week. It will be closed for two weeks while the company installs new office software and does some maintenance.

A new general manager, Richard Stettner, will run the hotel when it opens on April 26. He replaces former general manager Brad Wyatt.

The majority of Limelight employees – approximately 25 – will remain on staff, according to Skico officials.

The sale of the Limelight Lodge from the Paas and Woolery families to the Skico was supposed to occur in March, but the two entities decided to wait until the end of the season to ensure a smoother transition for employees.

Dale Paas, former co-owner of the hotel, told the Times in March that he planned to stay on but was uncertain in what capacity.

He couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Paas has said in the past that the hotel was having financial difficulty and that he was looking to infuse more capital into the operation. At the time, Paas said the last resort would be to sell the property, and he was hoping to find a partner to invest capital or secure more financing.

Paas said that debt on the property had been mounting, and the cost of doing business had been rising. That was coupled with the recession and the fact that not all of the 14 condos at the adjacent Monarch on the Park have sold. The proceeds from the sales of the condos were expected to pay for the debt on the 100,000-square-foot hotel.

On Jan. 6, it was announced the Skico would buy the hotel and keep the rates moderately priced.

Paas also told the Times that many in the community have approached him suggesting that he and his business partners are walking away with a windfall.

But he said that’s not true and he hoped proceeds from the sale would cover all of his debt.

According to the Pitkin County Assessor’s Office, the property has an actual value of nearly $50.7 million.

The Limelight Lodge had been a fourth-generation family enterprise, involving Dale Paas and his sister, Susan Woolery, and their grown children.

The Paas family had been in the Aspen lodging business since Dale and Sue’s grandparents ran the long-gone Hillside Lodge, once located where the Silver Circle ice rink sits today.

The old Limelite Lodge (with its old spelling) was, by the time of its redevelopment, comprised of a collection of buildings at the corner of Monarch Street and Cooper Avenue that dated back to the 1940s and 1950s. It began as a three-room establishment with a restaurant and nightclub in the 1950s; the folk group The Limeliters formed there in 1959 and took their name from the club.

The Paas family began operating the Limelite in 1964. The Limelite building itself expanded over the years, and the operation also grew to incorporate the former Ski-Vu Lodge on the south side of Cooper, which was razed for construction of the Monarch on the Park condominiums as part of the redevelopment.

On the north side of Cooper, the Limelite Lodge expanded with the acquisition of the adjacent Deep Powder lodge and Snowflake Inn. In 2005, the family came forward with its plan to redevelop the corner as a new, midpriced lodge. The old buildings were demolished in 2006, and the new Limelight and Monarch on the Park were finished in 2008.

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