Dancing Bear in Aspen has new owner
ASPEN – An Aspen-based developer has joined forces with a national investment firm in its purchase of the Dancing Bear fractional-ownership development for approximately $27.5 million.
Tuesday’s acquisition marked a new era for the financially troubled project, which had been hamstrung by receivership, bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings.
“It has been a very well-run project even though it’s been through a difficult process,” said Randall Bone, president of Aspen development firm Sunrise Co., which bought the project through a joint partnership – called DBOS Partners – with financier Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angeles.
The seller was German bank West LB, which foreclosed on the property in July.
The Dancing Bear is a two-phase project, of which only the first phase, at the corner of North Monarch Street and Durant Avenue, has been completed.
The second phase, located at the former site of the Chart House restaurant, remains just partially built since financing dried up in 2010 for then-owner DB Capital Holdings. Building approvals remain in place for the second phase through 2014, Bone noted.
“We intend to complete the entire project,” he said. “We don’t have a firm time frame on that but it will be determined soon.”
First things first, Bone said 33 of the 72 one-eighth shares – which account for nine units – at the existing Dancing Bear Lodge have been sold. That leaves 39 remaining shares on the market. The first 33 sold for between $600,000 and $1 million each.
“We would like to sell a good portion of those before we get to the second building,” Bone said, adding that the new ownership has not “finalized our pricing yet.”
There is other unfinished business as well.
The lease for the popular dining and drinking spot Brexi Brasserie, which is among a group of downtown restaurants owned by Samantha and Craig Cordts-Pearce, expires this fall. Bone said negotiations are getting started about the future of the ground-level, corner restaurant.
“We’re having a sit-down with them and we hope to keep Brexi,” he said.
Bone said he does not anticipate any staffing changes, other than bolstering the existing payroll in the form of some new positions for operations, sales and marketing.
Sunrise Co. was founded in 1963 by Bone’s father, William Bone, who is currently the CEO and board chairman. It has built country clubs and residential communities primarily in California, but it also developed Garden of the Gods Club in Colorado Springs.
The primary financier of the project, hedge fund Oaktree Capital, is aiming for initial public offering this summer, with plans to raise $100 million, according to published reports. The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 24 that Oaktree had $74.9 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, while its 2011 revenue fell 24 percent to $155.8 million.
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