Aspen’s Given Institute up for discussion

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen City Council moved its discussion on whether to approve a ballot question that would allow the city to buy the Given Institute, which was scheduled for Monday night, to Tuesday at 4 p.m.

At the end of May, officials from the University of Colorado’s medical school, which owns the property, announced they intend to sell the land, saying CU’s dire fiscal situation means it can no longer afford to operate the facility. Officials cited an annual net loss of up to $200,000 to operate the Given.

University officials have said the potential unnamed buyer is offering $17 million for the land, but isn’t interested in the property unless it is free of the existing buildings.

It would be a tough sell on the ballot if the city has to pay the full $17 million, council members said at their first meeting on the issue July 29.

“I think the bigger thing about it … is it’s a losing proposition,” said Sarah Broughton, vice chairwoman of the Historic Preservation Commission.

The late Aspen philanthropist Elizabeth Paepcke donated the Given property, which overlooks Hallam Lake at ACES, to the university about 40 years ago. Since then, it has been used as a venue for medical forums in accordance with Paepcke’s wishes.