Aspen’s ‘Compound’ to close in April, ending run for Su Casa restaurant and Eric’s Bar
Attention Compound shoppers: Whether it’s feasting on fajitas at Su Casa, racking some balls at Aspen Billiards, firing up a stogie at the Cigar Bar or grabbing a cocktail at Eric’s Bar, you’ve got until mid-April to get your fix.
Mary Lynn Casper, whose family owns the four downtown haunts, confirmed Monday they will permanently close April 17. That is also the scheduled last date of the ski and snowboard season on Aspen Mountain.
Known over the years as “The Compound,” the spot will join the graveyard of locally owned restaurants that this year alone has added L’Hostaria, Pinions, Jimmy’s, and other dining locales.
Beyond the closing date, Casper was not talking and referred questions to developer Mark Hunt, the face of the ownership of the building at 315 E. Hyman Ave., officially called Wheeler Square, where the businesses are located.
Hunt didn’t respond to separate telephone and email messages left with him Monday.
The closures will come after a Hunt-led group paid $10.6 million to the Casper family for a majority of the Wheeler Square in January 2020 and acquired the rest of the condominium building for $7.4 million from attorney Gideon Kaufman in August 2020.
After the Casper family sold their stake in the building, they issued a statement saying their plans were “to operate all businesses as usual for the foreseeable future. For 28 years the Casper Family and staff have enjoyed serving our community and friends. We look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.”
Over the weekend, Su Casa, the building’s longest serving tenant, celebrated its 30th year in Aspen.
While Hunt’s intentions for the property’s future use are not clear, public records show RH (formerly known as Restoration Hardware) provided $7.4 million in financing for the August 2020 purchase of the remaining ownership of Wheeler Square.
Hunt is partnering with RH on a handful of developments to be part of the public company’s $105 million investment in an “Aspen Ecosystem” that it announced in January. The RH/Hunt venture calls for a gallery on Galena Street, a boutique hotel at the old Crystal Palace building (where construction activity remains dormant) on East Hyman Avenue, while the “RH Residences at the Historic Boomerang Lodge will include up to five fully furnished four bedroom custom homes, and The RH Residence on Red Mountain will be a fully furnished six bedroom home with multiple terraces and an infinity pool with views of downtown.”
The Wheeler Square building also includes the street-front space that once housed the Hub of Aspen bicycle shop. No longer a bike shop and now vacant, that space is set to become a new location for the Gravity Haus, which bills itself as “a social club that enables a modern active lifestyle — the seamless merging of work, play and outdoor adventures.”
With locations already in Breckenridge, Winter Park and Vail, the company also is expanding into Truckee, California, near Lake Tahoe.
Its designs for Aspen came to light at a Dec. 7 meeting of the Local Licensing Authority, which at the time approved the company’s application for a liquor license.
“There is a lack of space in Aspen for people to gather, and that’s what it’s designed for — a place to get a cup of coffee or a beer,” Aspen native Gordon Bronson, who is working with the Gravity Haus ownership to open the Aspen spot, said at the meeting.
While other Gravity Haus locations also include a hotel, Bronson said that was not the plan for the Aspen location. It will also serve light eats and healthy food, he said.
Bronson told the LLA the ownership of the Gravity Haus “wants to open ASAP, but obviously that is pending the work we need to do with the city.”
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Shuttered since December of 2020, the Red Onion bar and restaurant will open by Thanksgiving, according to Mark Hunt, the building’s owner who is redeveloping the space.