Clinton the warrior; Basalt’s border
August 6, 2002
Combing through a database to see how Aspen has recently been portrayed in the media, we found former President Clinton in a slightly awkward position.According to the Aug. 2 issue of the New York Post, Clinton dropped a bombshell during a speech on Israel last week.”‘If Iraq came across the Jordan River, I would grab a rifle and get in the trench and fight and die,’ the ex-president said to wild applause at a Jewish fund-raiser in Toronto.”Later in the article, the Post reported that “Clinton couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday because he was on a plane to Aspen, Colo., his spokeswoman said.”Yes, I’ll fight and die, but first, off to Aspen!Gilty! Gilty! Gilty!The New York Times on Sunday probably boosted home prices in Basalt thanks to an article by Aaron Donovan.The piece with the headline “Gilt by Association: Less Status, More Room,” was about “border towns” near ritzy enclaves. “Aspen. Palm Springs. Woodstock. Southampton. Palm Beach.”These are historic names that resonate with status, prestigious playgrounds for the select few, nestled in spectacular settings. Then there is Basalt. And Cathedral City, Saugerties, Hampton Bays and Stuart.”Never heard of them?”That’s because they are border towns, notable mainly for the fame of their neighbors. But they may be comparative bargains for second-home buyers seeking access to chic enclaves without living in them.”The article then quotes a local real estate broker on Basalt.”‘It’s very reminiscent of Aspen 30 years ago,’ said B. J. Adams, who owns B.J. Adams & Company, a real estate brokerage company in Aspen.”Basaltines can only hope that it’s 1972 for their real estate values.And then the Times reports the following:”In Aspen, the average house price is $3.4 million, and prices of $1.5 million for a small one- to three-bedroom house – what locals call a scrapper – are not uncommon.”A “scrapper”? Hmm, didja mean “scraper”? A scrapper is a fighter. A scraper goes down easy.Profit and lossThe Aug. 9 issue of Entertainment Weekly could help bring the next Hollywood “boon” to the Owl Creek valley.Writer Tricia Johnson notes that “Batman producer and former Columbia Pictures head Peter Guber is casting off a massive piece of land.”She describes Guber’s 15,0000-square-foot house, for sale at $63 million, and then reports that “the house also boasts a pool, a gym and a basketball court.”But listing broker Robert Ritchie, of Aspen’s Coates Reid Waldron, says the real boon here is the 650 private acres of rolling woodland and meadows that make up Mandalay Ranch.”But a real boon to who?In a story by Jason Blevins in the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune, which first ran in the Denver Post, it’s reported that “portions of the Mandalay Ranch are subdivided into 14 35-acre parcels for future home sites …”And Robert Ritchie is again quoted.”‘The last guy who looked brought his land-use planner with him,’ Ritchie said.”With approvals, the 35-acre parcels tucked into a private enclave between two ski hills could fetch between $6 million and $10 million, Ritchie said.”‘If someone is willing to wade into the Pitkin County land-use morass, potentially there’s a major profit there,’ he said.”That’s profit, not prophet.