Broker: Crystal Palace sale a ‘done deal’
November 15, 2007
ASPEN ” For the third time this year, the sale of the Crystal Palace building has been confirmed, although the current owner has declined to talk about the matter until the deal is formally closed.
Real estate broker Ruth Kruger, who is involved in the sale, confirmed by e-mail Wednesday that the sale of the building is “a done deal” but that the closing has not taken place.
The seller, Mead Metcalf, was not available for direct comment, but a spokeswoman said he probably would have nothing to say on the matter until a sale has closed.
The e-mail exchange with Kruger indicated that the buyer is Linden Nelson, an Aspen resident who reportedly owns other commercial property downtown and is a commercial developer in Michigan.
Nelson was not available for comment Wednesday. When asked about the deal in October, he declined to make any comment but said he would be willing to talk to a reporter when and if the closing takes place.
Nelson is the third name mentioned in connection with the sale of the venerable local dinner theater, which Metcalf has owned and operated for 51 years.
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Local developer Greg Hills reportedly offered $15 million for the historic property last summer but then lowered his offer to $13 million, according to statements Metcalf made last August.
An unspecified offer from mega-developer Pat Smith, owner of the 1 million-square-foot Base Village development in Snowmass Village and other property in Snowmass and Aspen, then trumped Hills’ offer in August. Metcalf reportedly accepted Smith’s offer, but Smith backed out of the deal in October for unknown reasons.
Kruger then confirmed Oct. 9 that a “backup offer” from another buyer had been tendered “shortly after the other one fell through.” She would not reveal the name of the buyer or the price at the time.
Kruger said at the time the buyer is “a party that’s been interested since the very beginning,” when Metcalf put the property on the market earlier this year, and that there is “a string of interested buyers” still waiting in the wings.
Kruger declined to speculate on whether the buyer would keep the theater operation running, but said, “It’s the desire of everyone to see the operation continue, if it’s financially feasible.”
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A story in the Nov. 15 edition of The Aspen Times may have left the impression that real estate broker Ruth Kruger disclosed the name of the buyer of the Crystal Palace building. Kruger did not reveal the buyer’s identity to the newspaper.