At 2015 meeting, Red Brick was second to Power Plant | AspenTimes.com

At 2015 meeting, Red Brick was second to Power Plant

While the Aspen Science Center is trying to jockey itself into second position for the former Aspen Art Museum building, the City Council might have other plans.

When City Council approved the proposal by the Aspen Power Plant group in March 2015, three of the five members said they considered the Red Brick’s Powerhouse Performance and Event Center as their second choice.

“I support the Power Plant, but if I had to go next in line, I would also go to the Powerhouse, the performance center,” Councilwoman Ann Mullins said at the March 15, 2015, work session.

In April, the Aspen Science Center sent a letter to members of the City Council saying that if the Aspen Power Plant couldn’t strike a lease for the city-owned building, the Science Center was willing to be second in line. The Science Center also said the second floor of the building, located at 590 N. Mill St., could be occupied by incubator-type office space.

The Science Center’s letter was sent to better position itself in the pecking order of prospective tenants if the lease with Aspen Power Plant doesn’t materialize. Public lease discussions between the Power Plant and the City Council are expected to begin in June; a private talk among the key players is set for tonight.

Council members are precluded from talking about the upcoming lease talks because the matter is pending.

But at the March 2015 meeting, they showed their preferences for their second pick.

Mayor Steve Skadron said he had “one foot firmly in the Red Brick camp and one foot firmly in the Power Plant proposal.”

Skadron said the Red Brick proposal would be “on deck, so don’t go anywhere.”

Then-Councilman Dwayne Romero held the same position.

Power Plant supporters and organizers hope the second preference is a moot point. At the March 2015 meeting, Councilman Art Daily offered his backing.

“I have confidence these guys are going to follow up on what they are promising us,” he said at the time.

The Power Plant proposal won the council’s favor over three other finalists — the Aspen Science Center, the Red Brick, GrassRoots TV and Aspen resident Paul Keinast, who pitched the building’s use as a community gathering place.

The Aspen Power Plant comprises studio space for the Aspen 82 television station, a business called 82 Events, a tavern run by Aspen Brewing Co. and space used for 65 desks and/or offices for entrepreneurs and business people.

The office space would consume 3,000 square feet upstairs. The remaining three enterprises would be located on the 3,500-square-foot ground-level floor.

“While it is not the mission of the (Aspen Science Center) to run an incubator space, we would partner with the people who are experts in entrepreneurship and incubator space operations,” the nonprofit’s letter to the city said. “And while there may be advantages to having a beer in an incubator, we believe there are more obvious synergies between an incubator space and a science center.”

During the March 2015 meeting, Councilman Adam Frisch said the Aspen Science Center was his first choice, and he also suggested it could share the building with the incubator-office space.

Aspen Science Center officials, however, said sharing the building would defeat their purposes because they wouldn’t have enough space.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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