Aspen’s Dancing Bear has a buyer |

Aspen’s Dancing Bear has a buyer

Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

ASPEN – The Dancing Bear upscale fractional-ownership development in Aspen has endured receivership, bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings. Now it’s under contract to change ownership.

German bank West LB, which injected $53 million into the project in 2006 and foreclosed on the property in July, has found a buyer, a person close to the deal said Thursday.

“There’s clearly a buyer, and they’re in the process of doing due diligence,” said Aspen resident James DeFrancia. DeFrancia, through Weston Capital Corp. of Aspen, has been the court-appointed receiver for the project since June 2010.

On Monday, Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols signed a court order discharging DeFrancia from his receiver duties. DeFrancia took over the project’s finances after its lenders pushed for receivership in district court.

“After the judge discharged me, it shifted [financial control of the Dancing Bear] back to the bank,” DeFrancia explained.

DeFrancia, however, said he was then hired by West LB – which created Dancing Bear ownership entities named Tanzbar CH Holdings LLC and Tanzbar DB Holdings LLC – to “manage the property on their behalf.”

DeFrancia also confirmed an online report issued Wednesday by Snowmass real estate broker Andrew Ernemann that stated the buyer is a developer with close Aspen ties.

The pending sale comes after Chicago-based real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle began marketing the property for sale in September. The firm entertained between 14 and 16 bid proposals, said DeFrancia, who declined to disclose the prevailing price.

Located at the corner of North Monarch Street and Durant Avenue, the Dancing Bear Residence-Aspen was billed as a two-phase development.

But the second phase, located at the site of the old Chart House, remains just partially built ever since financing dried up in 2010 for then-owner DB Capital Holdings. The spot had been intended to house an 11-unit condominium project. The property’s development rights expire in June 2014.

The first phase, meanwhile, has continued to operate despite the financial turmoil surrounding the project, including two bankruptcy filings, which were dismissed Nov. 14.

Both phases will be acquired by the buyer provided the deal goes through, DeFrancia said.

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