Developers take Gorsuch Haus plans to city
The reawakening of the Lift 1A base area at Aspen Mountain continued to gain traction Monday when the developers of the proposed Gorsuch Haus lodge submitted plans with the city’s Community Development Department.
“We are enthusiastic about it because this application has been in the works for a long time,” said landscape architect and planner Richard Shaw of Design Workshop, which is teaming with Norway Island Partners, comprised of Jeff Gorsuch, Bryan Peterson and Jim DeFrancia of the development firm Lowe Enterprises. “We’ve had the opportunity to widely speak about it and try to make it the best we can.”
The three said groundbreaking on the project, which seeks no variances from the city’s land-use code, could begin as early as spring 2018, provided it secures all of its approvals during the review period with the city government and council. An ambitious goal is to begin construction in the fall of 2017, they said.
The building would range from two to four stories, with a maximum height of 49 feet.
DeFrancia said approximately $100 million is being invested in the Gorsuch Haus, which would take about two years to build.
The hotel would span 68,000 square feet, with 81 keys comprised of hotel rooms and rentable lodging units, which would entail 60 guest rooms and suites, as well as seven for-sale restricted lodge units with lock-offs (21 keys), according to a company statement.
A new high-speed lift and a ski-in, ski-out restaurant also are planned.
“Other features would be a living room/bar, small hotel spa, a rooftop pool with sauna/steam room and fitness center, a ski rental/retail shop, a library area honoring Aspen’s skiing heritage, a grab-and-go food service off the skier plaza, and flexible meeting space for community events, meetings and other social functions,” the statement said.
Monday’s application submission came the day before the developers of the Lift One Lodge return to the Planning and Zoning Commission today with a minor amendment for consideration. The Lift One Lodge development comprises a four-lot subdivision that also would include affordable housing in the Skiers Chalet Steakhouse, Lift 1 on another lot and relocating the Skiers Chalet Lodge, which would house an Aspen Historical Society museum.
Lift One Lodge’s lot 1, which also would include a platter lift to ferry skiers to the base of Lift 1A, is located at the foot of Aspen Mountain on a parcel beneath the site for the Gorsuch Haus.
Developers of both lodges have touted them and their accompanying retail amenities as a way to reinvigorate the staid Lift 1A base area, which represents a major significance in Aspen’s skiing heritage.
“The redevelopment of the South Aspen Street neighborhood is important to the town of Aspen and the future of Aspen Mountain,” said Aspen Skiing Co. President and CEO Mike Kaplan in a statement issued Monday. “As we have long said, the revitalization of this area is a necessary step to the replacement of Lift 1A, and we look forward to a South Aspen Street neighborhood with new hotel and lodge projects, condominiums, restaurants and retail spaces such as Gorsuch Haus.”
Peterson said getting public buy-in has been critical to the process. Developers in June began collecting feedback, and in December they held an open house to reveal preliminary plans for the mountainside lodge.
Parking would be built underground and the project will meet affordable-housing requirements.
“From the beginning of designing this project, the Norway Island partners have maintained a goal that this project will not burden the community,” the company statement said. “They are fully mitigating the required parking obligations on site and also fully satisfying the affordable-housing obligations.”
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Onsite parking won out over a Turkish bath at a new lodge planned to be built across from City Market. Aspen’s elected officials didn’t want to burden the neighborhood with offsite parking for the new hotel.