Downtown Aspen to see a second one-way street during Crystal Palace remodel

As the former Crystal Palace dinner theater goes under construction to make way for a new boutique hotel, the city will convert Hyman Avenue and Mill Street into a one-way street.

The one-way thoroughfare will begin at Hyman and end at Mill and Hopkins Avenue, where there will be a four-way stop, City Engineer Trish Aragon said.

“We feel this is the safest solution for all modes of transportation,” she said Monday, adding that construction is expected to last at least 18 months.

The change is necessary so braces can hold up the historic walls of the building, located at the corner of Monarch Street and Hyman Avenue.

The construction project will occupy 13 parking spaces around the site, as well as a traffic lane on Hyman, the corner of Monarch and Hyman and the loading zone and sidewalk on Monarch Street.

Because the northwest corner of Hyman and Monarch will be part of the construction site, the Hunter Creek bus cannot make the turning radius it needs and will be rerouted to Aspen Street and then onto Hyman.

The developer behind the project, Mark Hunt, is awaiting a building permit. Construction is expected to begin this spring.

The portions of the building that are the original historic material — the ground-floor level of the western brick wall and the Owl Cigar mural — will remain in place during the construction process.

The original portion of the 300 E. Hyman Ave. building will undergo a reconstruction using available historic photographs to guide the process, according to city staff.

A 26-foot-deep basement will be excavated on the site, and the development will include two full stories and a recessed third story across the 9,000-square-foot lot.

Hunt received approval from the city in 2018 for the project. Among Hunt’s plans for the space are 16 rooms on the upper floors and a 4,950-square-foot restaurant and kitchen on the ground-floor level. The lower level calls for a fitness center, restrooms, locker areas and a guest lounge, according to the land-use approval.

Fourteen of the guest rooms are planned to be on the building’s second floor, averaging nearly 500 square feet, and two suites would be located on a third floor that would include an outdoor pool, cabana and service bar.

The project encompasses two addresses: The two-level Crystal Palace building is located at 300 E. Hyman Ave., next to a one-story building at 312 E. Hyman Ave., which Hunt bought for $12.5 million in September 2013.

Aragon said the one-way street route will return to two-way traffic after the construction project is over, unless council and the public would like the change to be permanent.

The city made Galena Street and Cooper Avenue one way from Hopkins Avenue to Hunter in the mid 2000s first as an experiment, which then became a permanent change.