Aspen Skiing Co. phasing 66 workers into its new digs in Basalt |

Aspen Skiing Co. phasing 66 workers into its new digs in Basalt

Aspen Skiing Co. purchased this building at the intersection of Two Rivers Road and Midland Avenue in Basalt for $6 million in September.
Aspen Times file photo |

Downtown Basalt is getting a third wave of new employees this weekend as Aspen Skiing Co. relocates some of its departments that don’t need to be close to the mountains.

The finance and accounting department, auditing, advanced sales and a call center are settling into 255 Gold Rivers Court in an area known as Riverside Plaza, according to Skico Vice President of Human Resources Jim Laing. Employees will be phased in over time, he said, and eventually total about 66. “Floating” offices also will be established for employees who live downvalley and don’t want to travel upvalley on a particular day.

Two earlier waves of relocations brought more than 50 workers to downtown Basalt. Pitkin County has about 40 employees temporarily working out of 123 Emma Road in a space formerly occupied by Bristlecone Mountain Sports.

Aspen Community Foundation relocated its 14 employees from Aspen to Basalt in September when it bought space next to the building purchased by Skico.

The three relocations combined will bring 120 workers to downtown Basalt.

The relocations soften the blow Basalt suffered in spring 2013, when Total Merchant Services pulled out of the town. It employed 140 workers in Basalt. Its offices were in the building Skico bought.

The building is on Two Rivers Road near the intersection with Midland Avenue. Skico bought the 28,380-square-foot building for $6 million in December.

Skico is moving into the offices in the upper two stories. The ground floor will continue to be rented out to commercial tenants, Laing said. The tenants include Toklat Gallery, Traffic clothing store and Community Bank of Colorado.

Stay Aspen Snowmass, a central reservations business, will relocate to the Skico office Sunday, according to Bill Tomcich, president of the reservations business. The central reservations business is being integrated into Skico’s operations.

Tomcich said the relocation of Skico workers will give Basalt a boost.

“I think it’s going to have a measure of economic impact,” he said.

While Pitkin County needed temporary office space, it is aiming to become a permanent property owner in Basalt.

Pitkin County initially leased the former Bristlecone Mountain Sports space in Basalt for use while its Aspen office is renovated. It spent about $400,000 renovating 8,000 square feet. The building then went on the market, so Pitkin County placed it under contract to purchase. The sale is pending.

Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock said in an interview this summer that about 40 workers are using the temporary office space. The Aspen space is scheduled to be completed in summer 2018.

Once the county offices move out, Pitkin County plans to provide a long-term lease to Mountain Family Health Centers. The health center provides medical and behavioral health services to low-income residents.

Pitkin County also will be the landlord for businesses in its building, including Stubbies, Subway and Ho Palace.

“We’re all thrilled to welcome the Aspen Skiing Co., Pitkin County and the Aspen Community Foundation to Basalt,” said Basalt Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robin Waters. “Not only does the addition of approximately 120 new employees boost density in the downtown core, but it brings important opportunity and diversity to our community.”

She noted that a 2011 study showed 89 percent of Basalt’s workforce travels upvalley and elsewhere outside the town for employment.

“As organizations like these begin to put down roots in Basalt, it helps us to advance several key Chamber objectives,” Waters said. “It provides more prospects for residents of Basalt and the midvalley to work where they live. It increases work efficiency and reduces travel downtime. It lightens the traffic load along Highway 82. And, very importantly, it sets the stage for greater regional collaboration.”