Condos eyed at Aspen Domino’s, deli building
ASPEN ” The owners of Domino’s and Johnny McGuire’s Deli are looking for some relief from Aspen officials in lifting a restriction that would further their plans to develop 14 condos on top of their building on East Cooper Avenue.
Mark Campisi, owner of the local Domino’s Pizza franchise, and John Hoffman and Terry McGuire, owners of the deli, lobbied the Aspen City Council on Monday to release a deed restriction on the property that is part of an ordinance passed in 1983.
Ordinance 27 limits the amount of development that can occur on the property at the corner of Cooper Avenue and Original Street. The ordinance was part of a condition put into place when the zoning of the building was changed from office to commercial lodging, which currently allows for nearly 1 1/2 times what the ordinance calls for.
But the deed restriction was never recorded by the landowners, Simon and Norma Kelly. That failure was recently discovered as the business owners began hashing out their plans with city officials.
In 2000, the three business owners bought the Buckhorn Arms building and entered into a 99-year lease with the landowners so they would be able to control their destiny as local small business owners.
In an effort to relieve themselves of the debt they incurred when they bought the building ” which was sold to them for $450,000 ” the three partners want to redevelop the property into a 14-room lodge with a new ground-floor space for their existing businesses, plus an additional one.
The petitioners, represented by land planner Mitch Haas, argue the ordinance’s limitation was never in effect and is now superseded by the current zoning, which was passed by the City Council in 2007.
If the business owners are limited by the deed restriction, it won’t make economic sense to redevelop and it won’t go far enough in paying off their debt, Haas said.
Assistant City Attorney Jim True said the Kellys requested a rezoning from office to commercial lodge, and in turn, they agreed to the development restriction, which was in response to concerns from the Planning and Zoning Commission that anything more would be out of character with the surrounding neighborhood.
He advised the council that it’s not the obligation of city government to get involved in what is essentially a dispute between a landlord and the tenants.
The council expressed concern in lifting the restriction, which would effectively upzone a deed-restricted property and allow for more development.
“I don’t see why it’s our responsibility to fix this, although I am willing to work with the tenants …,” Mayor Mick Ireland.
By lifting the restriction, it opens the door for development that could potentially be detrimental to the area, especially if the proposed condos are high-priced luxury properties, council members said.
The council is expected to make a final vote on the matter Feb. 23 during a public hearing.
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