Developers alter plan for Gorsuch Haus at base of Aspen Mountain
The developers of the Gorsuch Haus altered their proposal this week to remove the northeast portion of the hotel to improve access to the bottom of a replacement Lift 1A and open views up Aspen Mountain.
The bottom terminal of the replacement chairlift would be moved closer to downtown, but it still would be about 66 feet farther up the slope than the existing lower terminal of Lift 1A, according to amendments submitted by Richard Shaw of Design Workshop on behalf of Norway Island LLC.
The Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to resume review of the project Tuesday. Commission members expressed concerns about the size and mass of the hotel at a prior meeting, and several members said they felt the placement of the lift in a niche carved out by the hotel would shut it off from the public.
Norway Island is proposing a hotel with 60 rooms and seven condominiums required to be available for rent and six free-market condos. As originally proposed, the hotel was 67,800 square feet. It was unclear if the alterations will reduce the size.
Shaw wrote that changes were made in response to the public and Planning Commission.
“The reduction of the northeastern portion of the proposed building enables the new Lift 1A to be relocated approximately 20 feet closer to the downtown or downslope from the alignment identified in the March 29 plan set,” Shaw wrote. “This places the new lift load location approximately 66 feet upslope from where the existing double chair loads today, however it will be much more easily accessed.”
The relocation of a portion of the hotel combined with the adjustment of the lift location “make the lift as visible upon arrival and as publicly accessible as can be achieved with any site plan,” Shaw wrote.
The changes to the hotel design would open a historic ski corridor from Dean Street to the mountain, Shaw wrote. They would relocate the building from encroaching into the upslope view from Lift 1 Park.
“The northeastern portion of the proposed building has been removed with some of the building’s mass relocated to western side of the site in a porte cochere configuration. This will result in a ground level opening two stories tall, framing a visual connection to the lift and the mountain,” Shaw wrote.
Norway Island LLC also is proposing to reduce vested rights for the project from 10 to five years.
Jennifer Phelan, deputy planning director for the city, informed the Planning Commission that the alterations were recently submitted for analysis by the staff.
“The conceptual design has begun to respond to some of the issues raised by the commission,” Phelan wrote. “Due to the level of information provided to staff, no detailed analysis can be provided at this time. The commission will need to determine if the scope of changes is heading in an appropriate direction and has responded adequately to commissioner concerns.”
The recommended action is to continue the hearing until Sept. 20 after discussing the changes.
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