Downtown Aspen parcel for sale in pieces |

Downtown Aspen parcel for sale in pieces

Carolyn Sackariason
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The most expensive and largest single piece of property in downtown Aspen now is being sold in three pieces ” a move that’s partly in response to a vast community sentiment that big development is unwanted.

The 15,000-square-foot swath of land known as the “Aspen Legacy” property includes the former Huntsman Gallery, the Little Annie’s building and the parking lot at the corner of Hunter Street and Hyman Avenue.

Those properties now are being listed separately after nearly a year of being marketed as one piece for $39 million. Now as separate pieces, the total sale price is $41.5 million. They are the only parcels actively listed for sale in downtown Aspen.

The property, which has been on the market since August, had a buyer, but the deal fell through earlier this year. Separating the properties is an attempt to attract a larger, more diverse pool of buyers, said Mark Wyman, the listing agent and the managing director of the Fleisher Co.

Now, potential buyers don’t just include high-rolling developers but also the relatively small risk-averse investor, Wyman added.

“The community continues to express their desire for smaller buildings and development, and keeping the character of the area,” he said. “In our present environment there is probably greater appetite for investment on smaller development and more bite sized.”

Splitting the property comes in the midst of a tough political time for developers ” the Aspen City Council has shot down four of the five redevelopment proposals it has reviewed in the past year.

The council has denied the redevelopment plans of the Cooper Street Pier, the Wienerstube restaurant, a hotel and fractional condo development at the base of Aspen Mountain known as the Lodge at Aspen Mountain and Bidwell Building, also called the Mountain Plaza Building, adjacent to Paradise Bakery and located in what is considered the town square.

The majority of council members voted to deny those developments because there would have been detrimental to maintaining the character of the area and the projects didn’t provide enough community benefits.

The owners of two of the buildings ” Cooper Street Pier and the Wienerstube ” are suing City Hall after they were denied their redevelopment plans. Those suits are pending.

The owner of the legacy property, Ed Dingilian, had big plans and was looking for a buyer who shared the same vision as he did. A public-private, mixed-use development beyond anything that’s ever been contemplated in downtown Aspen.

A few months after it was put on the market, Dingilian went public with his vision, which included subterranean commercial space that could go several stories below grade. That could have included museum space, public and private office and retail space, and restaurants and local-serving businesses. Public parking also was planned below ground.

The land on all three properties is zoned for uses allowed in the commercial core, which include retail, restaurant and offices on the ground floor, and lodging and residential on the upper floors, according to city codes. That means timeshares, fractionals, condominiums or apartments are allowed on the upper floors. Subterranean development also is allowed.

“In this situation, the sum of the parts exceeds the value of the whole,” Wyman said. “We are still taking offers on the three properties combined but we think there are a lot of buyers who care deeply about the future of Aspen, would love to plant their flag in the prime downtown core, and are able to invest in one of these unparalleled properties.”

Situated at the intersection of two of Aspen’s busiest downtown streets, the 9,000-square-foot parking lot is being listed at $27 million.

The 5,762-square-foot Huntsman Gallery building is being offered at $8.499 million.

Wyman said the property, which is sitting empty and is not being leased because of the impending sale, should be attractive to prospective buyers because the three-story retail and office building is ready to be immediately leased and has the opportunity for add-on amenities.

“That is retail and office space that can be used by an investor,” Wyman said, adding there is minimal retail and office space available in the downtown core.

The Little Annie’s Building, which sits on a 3,000-square-foot lot, is being offered at $5.99 million and does not include the business in it. Dingilian has a stake in the business and is committed to preserving the longtime restaurant on site or at a different location, Wyman said.

Little Annie’s is one story, but is zoned for additional levels on the existing building, pending approval from the city government.

“The site is not being used to its fullest potential,” Wyman said.