Council calls up Hunt redevelopment
January 12, 2016
Developer Mark Hunt's plans to tear down and replace the former Aspen Daily News building will now attract the scrutiny of the City Council.
In a 3-2 vote, City Council elected to call up Hunt's application to demolish the structure, located at 517 E. Hopkins Ave., and replace it with a 28-foot-tall commercial building.
The council could have upheld a Dec. 9 decision by the Historic Preservation Commission supporting Hunt's proposal with a conceptual design approval. Instead, they opted to give it a closer look because of the two redevelopment alternatives for the location.
While each alternative seeks no variances, Councilwoman Ann Mullins said she felt the second option, option B, was more appropriate "in terms of massing and the presence of a sidewalk."
Mullins motioned for a call-up because of the distinguishable differences between the two designs, both of which conform with city development guidelines.
Councilmen Art Daily and Adam Frisch voted against calling up the project, saying they were confident with the Historic Preservation Commission's decision.
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"Option A, which has the center space set back from the property line, includes a bridge cat walk between the other two commercial spaces to connect to the roof deck areas," read the minutes from the preservation commission's Dec. 9 meeting. "Option B is what is presented after the applicant met with staff, which pulls the center commercial area forward so that the three commercials are located at the property line. Option B is in line with the guidelines which bring the building fronts as close to the property line and sidewalk as possible."
The Historic Preservation Commission reviewed the application because the 1985-built structure, while not designated as historic, is located in the Commercial Core Historic District.
The project in both proposals seeks 19,244 square feet of net leasable space, with 7,015 on the ground floor and 12,234 between the basement and second floors.
"The proposed redevelopment of 517 E. Hopkins Ave. will do a far better job of reinforcing the retail-oriented function of the street and enhance its pedestrian character than does the existing building," Hunt's application says, noting the building will be a "product of its own time."
Hunt bought the 517 E. Hopkins Ave. building for $10 million in June 2014.