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City of Aspen’s historic home being eyed by prospective buyer

A pandemic could very well be what leads to the sale of a single-family house that the city of Aspen has been trying to unload for the past couple of years.

An offer has been made on the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 312 W. Hyman Ave., even though the property is not on the market, City Attorney Jim True confirmed.

“Someone threw out a contract,” he said, declining to identify the potential buyer.

Aspen City Council met in executive session Tuesday to discuss the proposed sale contract, and what the city should do with the property, which it acquired in 2007 for $3.5 million.

True said Wednesday that he had no additional information after Tuesday’s closed-door meeting with council members. Council would have to make a decision during a public meeting concerning the sale of the property.

The house, which the city put tens of thousands of dollars into for upgrades, has most recently been used as housing for Assistant City Manager Diane Foster.

The property has been on and off the market for the past few years, and prior to that it was used as affordable housing for individuals who qualify under Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority rules.

It was originally listed for $4.9 million, but was then reduced to $4.4 million in 2018 and then $3.95 million in 2019 before it was taken off the market.

Two Aspen property owners were under contract to buy the house for $3.8 million last year, but they walked away from the deal because limitations on what can be done with the property didn’t allow for their redevelopment plans.

The city bought the property from Jordie Gerberg because he planned to sell it and have it demolished to make way for a new home.

In a 3-2 vote, council in 2007 designated the property historic, which prevented it from being torn down. Historic preservation officials noted the home’s architecture reflects the history of Aspen as it became a ski resort. The chalet-style, two-story house was built in 1956.

The house cannot be torn down or significantly altered. But additional square footage is allowed above and below ground.

When council first considered purchasing the property in 2006, it was envisioned to be redeveloped into four for-sale affordable housing units. It was purchased with affordable housing money, which is funded by real estate transfer taxes.

After he sold the home to the municipal government, Gerberg rented from the city until 2009. He paid $2,000 a month and rented a portion of the home to another tenant for $1,000.

Over the years, the city has been approached with different deals and offers on the property, including Gerberg’s proposal to buy it back, but none of them were viable.

csackariason@aspentimes.com

 

The city of Aspen’s chalet-style house on West Hyman Avenue.

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