Buyers dig up timeshare deals
The secret’s out.The Prospector, Aspen’s oldest timeshare property, is suddenly getting notice, as a wave of new fractional/timeshare properties capture interest from visitors looking to own a piece of Aspen.But instead of prices that range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to, in some cases, more than $1 million per share, Prospector sales are popping up in the weekly tally of Pitkin County real estate transactions for sums like $10,000 or $25,000.
“It’s the greatest segue into Aspen, and people are starting to figure it out,” said Mary Anne Meyer, a broker with Mason & Morse who had a couple of Prospector shares listed for $18,000 apiece. Both sold. “It’s just this secret that’s out now.”Earlier this month, one share in each of two different units went to the same buyer for a total of $45,000. The two shares come with six weeks of use altogether, including the Christmas holiday this year.Another owner has offered four shares for sale in three different units. The total package is $300,000, but the deal offers 12 prime-time weeks, including Christmas and the Aspen Food & Wine weekend.The timeshare hotel on Hyman Avenue has 19 one-bedroom, two-bath condos, though the units are also each furnished with a Murphy bed and sleeper sofa to accommodate additional guests.
When it opened in 1983, with 285 shares available to sell, it was the first of its kind in Aspen. More than two decades later, six of those original shares – all for low-demand weeks – are still available, according to manager Scott Kirkwood. But when he took on oversight of The Prospector five years ago, there were roughly 50 unsold shares.”The Prospector is doing better than it’s ever done,” Kirkwood said. “It’s the best deal in town and has been for quite a while. People are buying two, three and four [shares], and they’re looking for more.”Out-of-state brokers have also picked up unsold shares, good for stays in months such as November, which hints of speculative buying, Kirkwood noted. There’s no indication that one entity is buying up shares with the aim of taking control, but the expectation that it could happen might explain the interest in shares deep in the offseason.If one buyer amasses 67 percent of the shares, the remaining shareholders could be forced to sell out, presumably leaving the property in the control of someone looking to redevelop it.
Step out onto one of The Prospector’s back balconies (each unit has its own balcony and hot tub), or its rooftop patio, and it’s easy to see the property’s true value. Backed up against Wagner Park, it offers a front-and-center view of Aspen Mountain protected by a city park.”The views are guaranteed,” Kirkwood said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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