City of Aspen on deck to put millions into two of its buildings
Renovation of the armory building that currently serves as City Hall and the powerhouse off Mill Street are municipal government’s next projects
After the city of Aspen moves out of the armory building that currently serves as City Hall, it will take at least two years and $7.5 million to deliver it back to the community to use for public benefit.
City officials will use most of next year for public outreach and deliberation on what the armory should be used for, with construction to begin in 2023.
“We’re all really wondering how the transition is going to go,” said Mayor Torre on Monday during a work session on the 2022 city budget. “When we move out, what happens to this building?”
Torre requested that the city’s capital asset director, Rob Schober, prepare an informational memo on what the transition will look like, noting that there have been several requests from community members and Pitkin County to use some of the armory building for temporary uses while its future is contemplated.
A renovation of the city-owned powerhouse off North Mill Street on the banks of the Roaring Fork River is scheduled for 2024 and is budgeted at $3.5 million
It currently houses some city departments and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, the latter of which will move to a renovated armory building.
Schober explained to council that the powerhouse work is scheduled after the old City Hall is done so ACRA and its visitor center can remain in the building until the new community-centered armory is done.
The powerhouse will eventually house four city departments, since the new City Hall comes up 6,000 square feet short in accommodating those employees.
The armory renovation is currently budgeted at $400 per square foot.
“We’ll be able to draw that number up or down depending on what the final use of the building is and what council desires,” Schober said.
Torre said citizens have suggested everything from a dance hall to a food court to community gathering spaces for the renovated armory.
“Everybody kind of has their own thinking going on,” Torre said. “There are questions around the ($7.5 million) and what are the possibilities that go into that and come out of that, so I think we’re all very interested in how these three buildings are going to be working for the city and the community going forward, and I just want more information so that we’re not getting far afield from each other and what we need to spend our energy working towards.”
Municipal employees will move into the new 37,500-square-foot City Hall on Rio Grande Place in the coming weeks.
Schober requested in his budget presentation a full-time maintenance technician with a salary of $107,160 to manage that new building, which has a complicated and interconnected systems.
“The new building, as designed to be energy efficient, has sophisticated mechanical and electrical systems that all work in concert with each other,” he said. “Those sophisticated systems are going to take someone with specialized skills and a good head on them to take care of that, recognize what needs to happen and be fixed in the building and also ensure that ongoing preventative maintenance is happening so we are protecting our asset in the long run.”
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