Downtown Aspen development to reach a fever pitch in ‘20

Mill Street pedestrian mall in Aspen on a winter day.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times file photo

Planned redevelopment projects on downtown Aspen’s pedestrian malls:

• 305 S. Mill (Grey Lady and Jimmy’s Bodega) — building permit applied for but not issued for 9,333 square feet of commercial space (single use). Height: 14 feet.

• 411 E. Hyman (next to New York Pizza) — building permit not applied for (vested rights are good through Oct. 27, 2019) for 968 square feet of gross floor area; 872 square feet for commercial space (single use). Height – 21’

• 420 E. Hyman (Zocalito’s/Annette’s) — building permit issued for 4,572 square feet of total gross floor area; mixed use; 1,572 square feet of commercial space; one free-market residential unit; three affordable units. Height: 38 feet.

• 434 E. Cooper (Bidwell) — building permit not applied for (vested rights are good through May, 2020) for 20,005 commercial floor area (single use). Height: 41 feet.

• 414-422 E. Cooper Ave. (Red Onion/JAS) — building permit not applied for (vested rights are good through 2022) for 1,760 square feet of new commercial net area (single use). That figure does not include the use of former poster shop (now Goop) as vertical circulation, including stairs and elevator for both the Bidwell and JAS space. There is no change to the building’s footprint, or overall height, although deck and balconies on the front and back are being enclosed and incorporated in the JAS space.

Source: City of Aspen Community Development Department

Five private redevelopment projects totaling roughly 40,000 square feet on downtown Aspen’s pedestrian malls are in the cue and will begin in the next year.

With that significant amount of development on the horizon, city officials are attempting to coordinate an overhaul of the mall’s brick surface and the infrastructure underneath.

Aspen City Council — with some of its members hesitant to begin such a massive and expensive project — agreed last week to move toward schematic design in order to give landowners a guide to development.

“Being able to partner with the private projects as they go forward rather than having to do work after the fact is really kind of a big issue we are facing in a lot of departments right now,” Michelle Bonfils Thibeault, the city’s project manager, told council at a Sept. 24 work session. “The imminent issue is there are six giant land use applications for redeveloping buildings on probably almost three quarters of what we’re talking about.

“And coordinating those efforts with the infrastructure, with replacing the bricks, with the grading, without schematic design in place for the developers to come back to, we are at risk of having the new buildings come in at different grades, not meeting ADA and having a lot of backfill to come back to.”

City officials for a few years have been grappling with how to phase and approach the mall project, since their surface is more than 40 years old and some of the underground infrastructure hasn’t been touched in six decades.

“One of the reasons we got into this was there were a lot of buildings bought and sold and development seemed to be imminent but it ended up stalling,” Councilwoman Ann Mullins said. “We wanted to make sure these developers contribute financially.”

Developer Mark Hunt has said he plans to begin construction in the spring on at least three properties on the malls — 305 S. Mill St., 434 E. Cooper Ave. and 414-422 E. Cooper Ave.

One block over, separate redevelopments also are planned for 411 E. Hyman Ave. and 420 E. Hyman Ave.

Hunt’s projects include redeveloping the current restaurant space where Mr. Grey’s is located, and on Cooper Avenue, where half of the block will see construction.

Restoration Hardware is reported to be the anchor tenant in a redeveloped Bidwell building on the corner of Cooper Avenue and Galena Street.

Next to that project, a new jazz center for Jazz Aspen Snowmass will be built in the buildings on either side of the Red Onion.

A California-based ownership group plans to redevelop 420 E. Hyman Ave. with a third-floor penthouse, along with retail space and affordable housing.

Tenants have moved out of the existing building in anticipation of development.

Finally, the building next to New York Pizza is slated for redevelopment of the commercial retail space.

Design Workshop, the planning and landscape architecture firm hired by the city to lead the mall project, will bring schematic design for the mall project to council for further review in the coming months.


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