Developers trim big hotel in latest plan | AspenTimes.com

Developers trim big hotel in latest plan

Janet Urquhart

Developers of a planned new hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain have chopped a floor off part of the structure in hopes of gaining conceptual support for the project from the City Council tonight.Lodge at Aspen Mountain spokesman John Sarpa told the council a month ago: “I don’t know what else we can do with the height and mass.” They’ve figured something out.”We’ve really redone the whole thing. We dropped one entire floor in two sections of the building,” Sarpa said Friday.”I can certainly say, this is it,” he added.The central section of the hotel, off South Aspen Street, was what most troubled council members late last month. It was primarily five stories high. Councilman Torre termed that part of the building “enormous.”The height of the hotel has now dropped from about 60 feet to about 50 feet, according to city planner James Lindt, who summarized the changes in a memo to the council.”The proposed building is still large and does exceed the underlying zone district’s dimensional requirements, but would provide a great deal of needed lodging in an appropriate location,” he said in the memo.To accommodate the reduction, developers have cut the number of guest rooms in the project from 85 to 80 and increased the number of one-bedroom suites, while cutting back the number of standard hotel rooms. The last iteration of the plan called for 71 standard rooms and 14 one-bedroom suites. The latest proposal contains 62 rooms and 18 suites.In addition, the hotel includes 22 suites to be sold in fractional shares, four free-market condominiums and 12 worker housing units. Most of the project’s worker housing will be constructed elsewhere; the 12 on-site units are required to replace half of what will be lost with the razing of the Mine Dump Apartments on the property.The council wasn’t pleased with the plans for the partially sunken worker housing last month; the units are completely above grade in the new plan, Sarpa said.Also as part of the design changes, some meeting space has been lost, and the planned restaurant in the hotel is now proposed where the ballroom had been situated, next to the main entrance. “Back-of-house” space – areas the public doesn’t see, such as kitchens, offices and storage – has been significantly cut in the new design.”We still think we have good, adequate meeting space for the functionality of the hotel and for the community,” Sarpa said.The space can be divided into sections or opened into one 3,000-square-foot ballroom area.The restaurant will no longer be located adjacent to the outdoor après-ski deck. Instead, a small bar area will serve the deck on the south end of the building, nearest the ski slopes.The hotel will be located near the base of Lift 1A at the top of South Aspen Street; a new lift is proposed as part of the project.The Lodge at Aspen Mountain encompassed 185,400 square feet of above-ground space before the latest reductions. It is slated for parcels on both sides of Juan Street, along South Aspen, with a section of the building bridging Juan Street and connecting the two properties.Developers expect to select an operator for the hotel within the next few months, according to Sarpa.”We’ve had some very strong interest from a good selection of luxury hotel operators,” he said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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