Aspen’s Pine Creek Cookhouse for sale
ASPEN – The owner of the Pine Creek Cookhouse has resurrected his effort to sell the longtime mountain getaway and resort in Ashcroft by listing the property with Aspen Business Brokers.
Ashcroft Resort owner John Wilcox said Tuesday he listed the property with the firm in an effort to gain a more national reach for potential buyers.
The property has been for sale since at least 2008, but the right buyer hasn’t come forward to carry on the legacy Wilcox envisions for the property and resort. And the Great Recession hasn’t helped the effort either.
“The economy sort of put it on the slow-motion track,” Wilcox said, adding he will be selective in who buys the property. “There is no timetable for retirement, but we want to find the next generation of ownership.”
Despite the dismal economy, Wilcox said the restaurant has done well this year and has had a strong place in the local community.
“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished for the community over the past 24 years,” he said.
Wilcox declined to say what the listing price is because potential buyers may want different elements of what’s available on the property, which is envisioned to be a sustainable resort 11 miles up Castle Creek Road near the historic mining ghost town of Ashcroft, south of Aspen.
Sources say the entire property and its development rights are listed for $16 million.
Located at the base of the Elk Mountain Range, Ashcroft Resort includes Star Peak Cabin, a private 15-acre in-holding with a 5,500-square-foot log lodge, as well as numerous development rights, including the Montezuma Mill site – a private 5-acre in-holding with two 620-square-foot cabins and an approval for an additional 3,500-square-foot cabin.
There’s also the King Cabin, which has been approved for a new arrival center and retail shop for the nordic skiing operation, as well as a U.S. Forest Service resort permit for 735 acres for year-round outdoor activities.
The sale also includes the 7,500-square-foot Pine Creek Cookhouse restaurant. The building was rebuilt seven years old after being destroyed by a fire in 2003. The upscale dining institution was established in 1971, which is accessed in the winter by nordic skiers and a horse-drawn sleigh.
Wilcox won final approval a couple of years ago from the Forest Service to build a new “log arrival center” to replace the aging, funky King Cabin. He also has approval to build three caretaker cabins, or employee housing units, at the entrance to the valley, which is a hilly, wooded area next to the ghost town.
Wilcox has had Pitkin County’s approval for his proposals for several years, after the passage of a master planning document for the area.
“Pitkin County is very supportive of the amenity,” he said.
Wilcox said he plans to present new plans this fall to the Pitkin County commissioners that would transform the area into a sustainable resort.
In the winter, the new center will serve as the “base camp” for skiing, snowshoeing and sleigh riding, and will boast a retail shop offering an expanded selection of outdoor gear along with equipment rental and lessons.
In the summer, the center will offer guided hikes, bicycling and fishing excursions, and an information desk staffed by the Aspen Historical Society for visitors to the historic ghost town.
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Some days, I miss being back in the saddle. I miss making memories.