City of Aspen eyes new uses for old Mountain Rescue space |

City of Aspen eyes new uses for old Mountain Rescue space

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

City properties under review

The city of Aspen’s Municipal Facilities Master Plan will be a comprehensive look at the current uses and future needs of the following properties:

Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority offices — 530 E. Main St.

Aspen Police Department — 506 E. Main St.

Aspen Recreation Center — 0861 Maroon Creek Road

Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s office — 425 Rio Grande Place

Aspen Parks Department offices — 585 Cemetery Lane

Aspen Golf Course offices — 1000 Truscott Place

City Hall — 130 S. Galena St.

Mountain Rescue Aspen cabin — 630 W. Main St.

Old Power House (current Aspen Art Museum space) — 590 N. Mill St.

Rio Grande building — 455 Rio Grande Place

Truscott space known as the Red Roof Inn — 100 Truscott Place

Wheeler Opera House — 320 E. Hyman Ave.

Yellow Brick building — 215 N. Garmisch St.

Zupansis property parking lot — North of Pitkin County government building

Various spaces leased by city departments, such as the Building Department — 517 E. Hopkins Ave. and other locations

With Mountain Rescue Aspen planning to vacate its Main Street cabin late this summer, the city will consider selling the property, renovating it and/or making it available to other nonprofits.

Aspen’s Capital Asset Director Scott Miller expects to know the value of the property by the first week of May, when he will update the Aspen City Council on the status of at least 14 other properties the city is analyzing. His update fits into the council’s goal to develop a Municipal Facilities Master Plan, which is a long-term project that will consolidate city offices and operations.

Along with the 4,000-square-foot Main Street cabin, the city is weighing the uses and needs of City Hall, the Wheeler Opera House, the Yellow Brick Building, the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority offices, the Aspen Police Department, the Aspen Recreation Center, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s office, a vacant lot on the Zupansis property, the Old Power House, Parks Department offices on Cemetery Lane, the Aspen Golf Course building offices, the Rio Grande building, the Truscott space formerly occupied by the Red Roof Inn and various spaces leased by city departments.

Miller expects to update the council once a month throughout the summer, with the first visit coming April 8. The Old Power House, which has been courted by various entities including the Aspen Science Center, is also up for discussion at the April 8 council work session. By June, the city will begin formulating ideas for where all the pieces will fit.

“From May into mid-June, we’re going to start looking at, ‘What are some possible solutions?’” he said. “‘How do we move people around? Or where do we look at adding another floor onto a building or renovating a building or building a new building?’”

Mountain Rescue — a 50-member volunteer organization that has occupied the Main Street cabin since the 1960s — broke ground on its new $3 million facility near the Aspen Business Center in July. The new 13,900-square-foot headquarters more than triples Mountain Rescue’s current space, which features a garage and second-floor living space.

Miller said the city will begin looking at site and schematic alternatives, as well as construction-cost estimates, for the Main Street cabin this summer. City architects and engineers will assess the building based on size, use, structural and life-cycle analysis and property value.

The Wheeler Opera House was not included in the initial outline for the Municipal Facilities Master Plan. Wheeler directors requested inclusion because part of the study assesses each building’s current condition and a 20-year capital-repair plan. Miller said some of the Wheeler’s offices and common areas need to be updated, but he doesn’t anticipate any other city department sharing the space.