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Back to the future in Aspen

Bob Ward
Special to The Aspen Times

Bob Ward/Special to The Aspen Times

Aspen projects

Presently, several high-visibility redevelopment projects are ongoing — the Aspen Art Museum at 204 S. Galena (the former Gap building), the Chabad Aspen Jewish Center on Main Street and the Aspen Community Church remodel on Bleeker — and even more are soon to come.

Walking past the corner of Hopkins Avenue and Galena Street, it’s easy to imagine you’ve stepped back to 2006. On the southeast corner, there’s a monstrous hole in the ground surrounded by construction fencing. Heavy equipment is clanking away, moving dirt and making way for a new three-story building.

The same thing is happening at Hyman and Spring, where construction of a new Aspen Art Museum is bringing cement mixers to the site regularly and temporary pedestrian walkways push into the street.

Aspen hasn’t completely recovered from the Great Recession, but building and development seem to be picking up.

“In terms of a long time frame, there’s definitely more activity,” said Chris Bendon, director of Aspen’s Community Development Department. “We have multiple projects, multiple sizable projects, all at the same time.”

In terms of a long time frame, there’s definitely more activity

Presently, several high-visibility redevelopment projects are ongoing — the Aspen Art Museum at 204 S. Galena (the former Gap building), the Chabad Aspen Jewish Center on Main Street and the Aspen Community Church remodel on Bleeker — and even more are soon to come.

In the very near future, the long-anticipated Aspen Core project will commence at the corner of Hunter and Hyman, where a private, dirt parking lot now exists. Still working their way through the approval process are several other major projects that are sure to keep the downtown landscape in flux for quite some time.

Some of these, including scrape-and-replace redevelopments of the buildings where Zocalito restaurant and Omnibus Gallery are located, will occur on the pedestrian malls. A planned redevelopment of the Bidwell Building, across from Paradise Bakery at Cooper and Galena, will drastically change one of Aspen’s most popular corners. Those projects are certain to have an impact on downtown life, although the exact timing is presently unknown.

“We haven’t experienced big projects on the malls before,” Bendon said. “It’s going to be pretty disruptive.”

So, whether this is the calm before the real storm or just a slight uptick in construction activity, The Aspen Times decided to give readers a quick rundown on current and soon-to-start major projects.

204 S. GALENA/GAP BUILDING

Owner: 204 S. Galena LLC.

Location: Southeast corner of Hopkins Avenue and Galena Street.

Project: Replacing the former Gap store with five new ground-level commercial spaces and a second-story restaurant with a wraparound porch.

Size: 21,451 square feet of new construction, including basement.

Estimated completion: Christmas.

ASPEN ART MUSEUM

Owner: The Aspen Art Museum.

Location: 637 E. Hyman Ave., southwest corner of Spring Street and Hyman.

Project: The museum will relocate to an all-new building from its current location on North Mill Street.

Size: 36,000 square feet of new construction, including basement.

Estimated completion: August 2014.

ASPEN COMMUNITY CHURCH

Owner: Aspen Community United Methodist Church.

Location: 200 E. Bleeker St., northeast corner of Bleeker and Aspen streets.

Project: Major stabilization and renovation of the 123-year-old church, including structural, roofing, drainage and masonry repair.

Size: 8,640 square feet of existing space. No new construction.

Estimated completion: September.

ASPEN CORE

Owner: Aspen Core Ventures LLC.

Location: 517 to 521 E. Hyman Ave., southwest corner of Hunter and Hyman.

Project: All-new three-story mixed-use building on the corner, with commercial space on first two stories and two free-market residences on second and third floors. The Benton Building immediately to the west also will be restored to a more historic appearance.

Size: About 37,000 square feet of new construction and renovation.

Estimated completion: Spring/summer 2015.

CHABAD JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER

Owner: Jewish Resource Center Chabad of Aspen.

Location: 435 W. Main St., between Third and Fourth streets.

Project: Conversion of former lodging property to a new Jewish center, with a new sanctuary, preschool, library, offices, meeting spaces and rabbi’s residence, plus preservation/renovation of six historic cabins, three of which will become affordable housing.

Size: 16,500 square feet.

Estimated completion: February.


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