Aspen Skiing Co. flattens Holiday House
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
ASPEN ” Crews from Aspen Excavation and Demolition were busy tearing down the Holiday House on Friday, and Aspen Skiing Co. officials said they hope to fill the same footprint with affordable housing for as many as 60 workers by Dec. 1.
At least one neighbor, however, is frustrated.
On Nov. 8, 2007, the Holiday House (then being remodeled) caught fire and was gutted, rendering the building unusable to some 60 seasonal employees slated to live there for the ski season.
The loss was a blow to the company, according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.
Demolition of the Holiday House began Wednesday and the buildings were razed by Friday afternoon. The full demolition will be complete and the foundations removed by June 1, according Hanle.
“The plan is to replace the building with a building of roughly the same size,” he said.
Builders required only a new building permit to replace the fire-damaged structure, Hanle said.
The new building will be made of a handful of concrete-slab, modular units built off-site and later stacked in place.
“This allows us to get this thing done in time for the ski season,” Hanle said. “And it eliminates long hours of banging and building.”
Modular construction, he added, is also more affordable.
But at least one neighbor is frustrated, saying Skico officials aren’t communicating their plans in the quiet, residential neighborhood.
Phyllis Bronson stood up at a recent Aspen City Council meeting to complain that Skico officials did not notify neighbors in a timely manner about the demolition and that the company has had special treatment in the building process.
“They gave us no warning,” Bronson said later. “Why not give the neighbors at least a month’s warning? I think it just wasn’t done well.”
Skico officials held a special meeting just 12 hours before crews began the planned demolition, Bronson said, and neighbors had to hurry to move vehicles parked in the area.
Bronson has lived across from the Holiday House for six years (and more than 30 years in the neighborhood) and said she supports affordable housing but not a lot of downtown density.
“It’s just this lack of communication that leaves a bad feeling with the people of the city of Aspen,” Bronson said.
Hanle said Skico staff have done their best to work with the community on the project.
“We’ve tried to keep people informed,” Hanle said. “And we’ve gone through the process just as any other homeowner would.”
The new Holiday House will have the same capacity, but Hanle wasn’t sure how it would be configured. Some double rooms might be converted to single rooms and would be more comfortable for workers, but also would make for slightly less capacity.
The Skico isn’t fully staffed until the winter holidays, but Hanle said he hopes that the new Holiday House will be up and running by Dec. 1., adding that other Skico housing developments would help employee-housing woes.
Planned units for Skico staff in Club Commons at Snowmass, a Related WestPac project, as well as some 30 units at the Keator Grove development in Carbondale would be available for sale to Skico workers, Hanle said.
“Any housing we can bring on line is welcome,” Hanle said.
Skico will have more housing this year, but Hanle stressed that finding space for employees is an ongoing issue.
“I don’t think we’re by any means over the housing crunch,” Hanle said.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.