Big bucks for downtown Aspen’s Bidwell Building? |

Big bucks for downtown Aspen’s Bidwell Building?

Jeanne McGovernThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Aspen Times fileThe distinctive, two-story Mountain Plaza building, also known as the Bidwell Building, in downtown Aspen is on the market for $30 million.

ASPEN – A building on one of Aspen’s most high-profile downtown corners is up for sale – and with a price tag of $30 million, it is the most expensive commercial property on the market by more than $10 million.The Mountain Plaza building, located on the corner of Galena and Cooper, was listed Monday with local real estate agent Karen Setterfield.Bert Bidwell Investment Corp. decided this month to sell the prime piece of real estate – known as the Bidwell Building – for “lifestyle” reasons, Setterfield said. The move comes after years of back-and-forth with the Aspen City Council over a proposed redevelopment of the 1960s-era building; the owners of the building, three siblings in the Bidwell family, pulled the redevelopment proposal in late August. “I think they just got tired of the process,” said Setterfield, who has worked with the Bidwells as leasing agent for the property since February. “It is a lifestyle choice … the process of trying to redevelop was costly, not just in terms of money, but in time and energy. They are ready to do something different now.”This decision has nothing to do with any financial pressures or need to sell for financial reasons.”Listed at $30 million, with an assessed value of $15 million, the Bidwell Building is the most expensive commercial property currently listed in Aspen’s multiple listing service. The Aspen Legacy property, which includes the Little Annie’s building, is listed for $19.9 million; the Millennium Building, on the corner of Main and Galena, is for sale for just under $13 million. “Regardless of the price, I think the prospects for selling this property are excellent because of its location,” said Setterfield, adding she has already had “several serious inquiries” about the Bidwell Building. “People still want to buy commercial real estate in Aspen, and this is an A+ location.”While the location may be prime, the building is dated; the Bidwells had hoped to demolish the existing two-story building and construct a new, three-story, mixed-use structure. The proposal met with criticism from neighbors who worried about the impacts of construction on a prominent corner in the heart of the commercial core. City Council members also had concerns with the project, asking developers to change and resubmit their plans. Instead, the Bidwells decided to sell the 15,000-square-foot building, which is home to Kemo Sabe, Hunter Bar, Helly Hansen and other retail stores and office spaces. As to what a new owner will do with the building – which was designed by Aspen architect Fritz Benedict and which the city unsuccessfully tried to have designated as a historic landmark in 2007 – remains uncertain.”This building has a lot of potential. It’s in a desirable location for retail and offices, so whether it’s updated or remodeled or redeveloped, there are options,” said Setterfield, a longtime commercial real estate agent and name partner in Aspen-based Setterfield & Bright. “I think a new buyer will be creative and will have their own ideas of what they want to do in this location.”

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