CMC, Glenwood close on key downtown properties | AspenTimes.com
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CMC, Glenwood close on key downtown properties

Heather McGregor
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Colorado Mountain College and the city of Glenwood Springs simultaneously purchased two adjacent downtown properties on April 1 for a total of $5.4 million.

The purchase secures a downtown location for new civic buildings that could include a new library, classroom and meeting space, a parking structure and a public plaza, said Glenwood Springs City Manager Jeff Hecksel.

“Each sale was contingent on the other, because the use of the parcels are very intertwined,” he said.

In the three-party land deal, Colorado Mountain College purchased what is known as the US Bank building at 802 Grand, built in 1890, and an adjacent, joined building built in 1984, for $3.8 million, according to Stan Jensen, college president and CEO.

The city government purchased the parking lot behind the bank building, which stretches more than halfway up the 800 block of Cooper Avenue, for $1.6 million, according to Hecksel.

The sellers were partners Walter Jenkins, Raydean Acevedo and Dennis Krueger, who purchased the two buildings and parking lot in 2003 from the Aspen Research Group for $3.7 million.

US Bank, which holds a lease for 6,000 square feet on the northern half of the ground floor that is good through 2022, will stay put. CMC is working with the other tenants of the building to find different office spaces to move to, Jensen said.

Colorado Mountain College plans to consolidate its district offices into the buildings, which offer about 40,000 square feet of space, in a move expected to take the rest of the year to complete. It will vacate rental space in the Alpine Professional Building and move out of its 22,500-square-foot headquarters building at 831 Grand Avenue, and will put that building on the market soon.

Consolidating operations in one building will increase efficiency for the 120-some college employees who work downtown, Jensen said. In addition, consolidated parking behind the building will replace a scattered and too-small collection of parking spaces across a several-block area. Those spaces will then be freed up for other users.

Jensen noted that buying and refurbishing the new property is more affordable than constructing a new building. Rental income from the bank, combined with avoiding lease payments in the Alpine building, add to the economic advantages, he said.

Development plans for the Cooper Avenue parking lot property are still the subject of planning and negotiations.

The college anticipates issuing certificates of participation to pay for construction of a two-level underground parking garage to occupy part of the city-owned property, in partnership with the city and the Glenwood Springs Downtown Development Authority, Jensen said.

The city, college and DDA are also negotiating with the Garfield County Public Library District to build the new Glenwood Springs Library above the parking garage, Jensen said.

“We are hopeful something can come out of this, but it has to work for all the parties,” Hecksel said.

He noted that the small drive-up bank building on Eighth Street will remain standing for now, and may be used as a staging building during construction. It will eventually be demolished as part of the site redevelopment.

hmcgregor@postindependent.com


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