Bank eyes Main St. building in Aspen for lodge rooms
September 22, 2017
A Grand Junction-based bank has its sights set on joining Aspen's lodging industry, but in a nominal role.
Timberline Bank plans to remodel the second floor of a Main Street office building into two lodging units, which will be one of the first proposals put to the test under the city's revised land-use code.
The bank's application will be reviewed Wednesday by the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission, yet a city memo shows it might be postponed to a later date.
The hearing would come after Timberline bought the 122 W. Main St. property, known as the Northstar Office Building, for $2.85 million from Monarch I LLC on May 17, according to Pitkin County property records.
Built in 1995, the three-level, 2,853-square-foot building (basement included) is not a historic landmark, but the commission will have a part in reviewing the proposal because the property is located in the Main Street Historic District.
While the review is considered "minor" in HPC parlance, the proposal "has produced a fairly complex discussion" with a "number of issues that staff finds require continuation and restudy to comply with the land use code," wrote Amy Simon, the city's Historic Preservation officer, in a memo to City Council. The memo was made public Friday.
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Timberline Bank has a branch on the 700 block of East Hyman Avenue. It typically handles Aspen accommodations for visiting bank employees and business types, and in the future wants to use its recently acquired property for them to stay, said Chris Bendon of the Aspen planning and consulting firm BendonAdams, which is representing Timberline during the proceedings.
The bank also would relocate to the Northstar building, while the living units would serve as lodge rooms when not used by those affiliated with the bank, he said. The building currently houses the Aspen Institute for Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine LLC and other businesses.
Because Bendon had not seen Simon's memo as of 11 a.m. Friday, he was not prepared to comment on her findings at the time.
Among the History Preservation Commission's tasks is to conduct a minor development/commercial design review for the proposed exterior changes.
Simon's memo suggests some elements of the proposal are out of step with the Main Street Historic District, including windows on the building's south facade that appear "rather contemporary." The proposed extended front porch and deck above also appear to be inconsistent with design guidelines, the memo said.
The proposed dormers — an upright window in a sloping roof — also seem to violate the city's 28-foot height limit, Simon's memo notes.
The proposed lodging units would trigger several elements of the city's new land-use regulations, and approval of them partly rests on the city's pool of lodge allotments for 2017. The city limits lodge growth to 112 pillows a year.
"Much of the 2017 allotment is currently earmarked for Gorsuch Haus and Crystal Palace, whose applications preceded this one," Simon noted.
Both the Gorsuch Haus, with 67 rooms proposed, and the Crystal Palace boutique hotel, with 16 rooms, remain in the city's approval process. Timberline's two rooms would not exceed that allotment, Simon noted.
"There are adequate pillows remaining to be awarded to this lodge," she said.
Housing mitigation would not be required under the proposal, Simon said. The parking requirement also would be reduced by 1.5 spaces. Currently there are 14 on-site parking spaces.