City to buy Main St. property |

City to buy Main St. property

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Aspen is poised to purchase a strategically located Main Street residential property for $3 million.

A resolution approving the purchase will be before the Aspen City Council today.

The Zupancis property, at 540 E. Main St., has been identified as a logical locale for various future uses in the city’s Civic Master Plan, which is currently being drafted, said City Manager Steve Barwick.

“There’s a lot of potential . all kinds of things could potentially land there,” he said. “The offer was made to us to purchase it, and it makes some sense to us to pick it up.”

The committee working on the master plan has identified the parcel as a probable site for affordable housing, a new fire station or a public safety building, according to Barwick.

The master plan will address future needs for government and nonprofit facilities and make recommendations on where those facilities could be located.

If, for example, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Aspen Police Department must leave the basement of the county courthouse to make way for an additional courtroom, those agencies will need a new headquarters.

“One of the questions we need to get answered from the county is whether the police and sheriff can stay in the basement of the courthouse indefinitely,” Barwick said. “If they’ve gotta go, then we’re looking at a whole new building. This just allows us a lot more options.”

The Zupancis home is located between the courthouse annex building and the Concept 600 building on Main Street. The lot stretches from Main Street back to East Bleeker Street and contains several outbuildings to the rear that have been designated historic by the city. The residence and garages are not historic.

The historic structures cannot be razed; moving them would require the approval of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, Barwick noted.

The money to purchase the property will probably come initially from a city fund dedicated to affordable housing, the city manager said. That fund contains about $13 million, he estimated.

If something other than worker housing is ultimately built there, the fund must be repaid. The site could eventually contain a mix of uses, including some housing, Barwick added. In that case, some percentage of the housing dollars could be allocated to the purchase.

The home is being sold by Louis Zupancis and his son, Robert. The purchase contract allows the elder Zupancis to reside in the home for a year following the closing on the real estate deal, before the city takes possession of the property.

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