Don’t let Little Annie’s be next
Aspen City Council should be applauded for calling into question the demolition of Little Annie’s restaurant. This structure is almost the keystone of the historic block, for it is a one-story building, with Western vernacular architecture that has not changed in more than 30 years. It balances the one-story Cowenhoven building on the corner, built in 1891.
If Little Annie’s were to be demolished, it would significantly and negatively change the historic block’s “streetscape,” wherein a large, inappropriate trendy structure would replace it.
Whether this historic structure has been altered or not, over the years, is not valid. Every historic structure has been altered at some time. Just look at the Vatican. The fact remains that the Historic Preservation Commission did abuse its discretion by not considering that the demolition of this structure would ultimately change the character of the entire historic block, making way for another modern structure built lot line to lot line, dwarfing all other structures on the block.
For demolition, HPC must recognize that this historic structure, whether designated or not, does significantly contribute to the historic streetscape of the block, not to mention its vitality. I was just told by a waiter at Little Annie’s that a couple returned after 30 years having had their wedding in the restaurant, and they were thrilled that it looked just the same.
We as citizens should do everything in our power to save this structure from demolition because if it goes, so does the integrity and charm of the entire block. This one story western vernacular structure helps sets the Benton building apart (which should also be preserved) and it compliments the one story Cowenhoven building.
I cannot understand, after having made embarrassingly large profits as a Wall Street hedge fund trader, Nickos Hecht, who was raised in this town, would not want to give back to this community for a change. Instead, he continues to sue the city to maximize new developments that destroy Aspen’s historic character.
On Nov. 28, City Council will again address this issue. Citizens of Aspen should support council on their efforts to save the character and soul of Aspen, so that this block does not become another dead zone like the Motherlode.
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