City Hall mulls real estate broker |

City Hall mulls real estate broker

Carolyn SackariasonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN City Hall will soon have a new real estate agent who will act on the publics behalf to negotiate future land deals.The City Council is expected next week to approve at least a year-long contract for a real estate agent. The council met earlier this month behind closed doors to consider a recommendation of a local broker, whose identity has not yet been made public.In April, City Hall put out a request for proposals asking local real estate brokers to apply; 17 submitted bids. A committee comprised of upper management in City Hall narrowed the pool to three finalists Ed Foran of Mason Morse, Brent Waldron of Coates, Reid & Waldron and Greg Hunter of Morris & Fyrwald.Hunter just finished a one-year contract with City Hall, which expired April 25. It was a seemingly lucrative period for Hunter, who helped negotiate $31 million in land acquisitions for affordable housing development. At a 2.5 percent fee to represent the city as a buyers agent, Hunter made several hundred thousand dollars in commissions.Although city officials dont anticipate buying as much land this year as they did in 2007, there is still a need for an agent, said City Manager Steve Barwick.City Halls agent will perform similar services as Hunter did in the past year, Barwick said. That will include negotiating the purchase of real estate for affordable housing, advising staff and council on market conditions, specific properties, and proposals presented to city government.Barwick noted that city government receives a lot of proposals to buy pieces of land and the real estate agent will be charged with fielding those walk-ins.The three finalists were interviewed by Barwick, Mayor Mick Ireland and City Councilman Dwayne Romero.A review committee comprised of assistant city managers Randy Ready and Bentley Henderson, as well as Rebecca Hodgson, assistant to the city manager, considered the proposals and have made a recommendation to Barwick, who will present the finalists contract to the council on June 24 for approval.The request for proposals stipulates that the contract will last for at least one year with two one-year renewal options.When Hunter was hired last year, there was no invitation for a public bid. According to city law, any contract that is worth more than $10,000 in services must go out for a public competitive bid, or an RFP process, according to Hodgson.Barwick justified the hire by saying the City Council directed him last spring to find a real estate agent quickly because available land was about to be bought by other parties and time was of the essence. That discussion took place behind closed doors in executive session.Barwick was given four names of brokers who were suggested by council and housing board members. Barwick has declined to identify the other candidates. But he interviewed them within a week and shortly after that, Barwick made the decision to hire Hunter.Waldron has been the managing broker for Coates, Reid & Waldron since 1977 and has lived in Aspen since 1971.Foran moved to Colorado in 1989 where he began his career in real estate, specializing in commercial real estate. In 1998, he joined Mason & Morse.Hunter has 14 years of experience in the real estate industry with more than $150 million in sales and an average of over 30 deals a year.The other candidates who applied in the recent bidding process were: Joshua Saslove, Jeff Pogliano, Steve Walker, Robert Langley, Roger Kuhn, Bill Stirling, William Small, Johanna Payne, Deb Bamesberger, Karen Toth, Rick Head, Paul Chichester, Gwen Dickinson and Brian