Aspen’s Dancing Bear project wins development extension | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s Dancing Bear project wins development extension

Aaron Hedge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

ASPEN – The Aspen City Council has extended the allowed development period of the Dancing Bear project until 2014.

Development rights for the project, which has been plagued by a string of money issues during its first phase of construction and is in financial receivership, were originally scheduled to expire next June.

The City Council voted 3-1 on Monday to approve the application for the extension, on the condition that a bond is issued to ensure funds for demolition should the construction never be completed.

Councilman Torre, who was on the City Council that approved the project, said he expressed reservations at that time and was the sole vote against approval.

“I didn’t know if it was in the best interests of Aspen then. I don’t know if it’s in the best interests of Aspen now,” Torre said.

He also said the approval would be a de facto extension of the construction period.

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Councilman Dwayne Romero recused himself out of a conflict of interest.

The construction is currently halted, leaving a skeleton of a building across the street from the first phase of the Dancing Bear, a fractional-ownership project, which was completed.

City staff recommended the City Council approve the application on several conditions, including ensuring the utility infrastructure, which is not currently running, is safe throughout the building of the project.

It also asked that the owner develop a new construction management plan.

The city’s special counsel, Jim True, said in the meeting that, if the City Council did not approve the second phase of the project, the owners would have the ability to get a “common law” extension, or have a judge decide that it can continue construction past June 30.

Five creditors in June said the owner owes them nearly $750,000.

The owner had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier that month.

Legal disputes that have shrouded the project in criticism have ended up in state court after a bankruptcy judge denied a reorganization of the project in late June.

Weston Capital Corp., the receiver of the property, also filed an application for the extension of vested rights with the City Council.

ahedge@aspentimes.com