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Everything must go at moving sale

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times
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PITKIN COUNTY Many of those who already own a gondola from Ajax and a mirror from The Red Onion drove up to grab a piece of the Elk Mountain Lodge. There was a fire sale over the weekend at the landmark near Ashcroft in anticipation of its sale to oil magnate Bill Koch. By Sunday afternoon the lodge was minus some leather couches and antler tables.”This place had great ambiance,” said Mike Waters of Snowmass Village, browsing the sale Sunday. “I came to lots of benefits and weddings here. It’s a gorgeous place.”Pitkin County Commissioner Jack Hatfield said the lodge held a number of good memories for him but agreed with others on the board that it was best if it became a residence. “It worked as an absolutely beautiful place in the wrong location,” said Commissioner Dorothea Farris. “They came up with a good plan for preservation and protection. It’s going to be a huge house; unfortunately, it fits in with the neighborhood.”The area homeowners association and the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, a nonprofit that owns the nearby Toklat lodge, expressed support for the lodge becoming a single-family home. The Castle Creek Valley lodge, south of Aspen, is slated to become a 27,500-square-foot, seven-structure, 17-bedroom luxury compound with a swimming pool and tennis court for Koch. The 52-acre property sold for $3.5 million in 1992 and listed for $24.5 million before going under contract in September 2006. The Pitkin County assessor lists Randall family management trust based in Houston as the property’s owner. It wasn’t always such an expensive property. Glenn Brand, who now lives in Denver, grew up at the Elk Mountain property in the 1930s. When his family sold it in 1979 for $800,000, the lodge was not even built yet. “The main thing in the summer, we had about 30 head of horses,” Brand said. “We did horse trips to American Lake and Summer Lake. We also had Jeep trips in the summer. We ran snowmobiles in the winter.”Even Brand, however, thinks the change slated for the property is a good one, if someone has the money to do it. “In the long run, what’s happened to it has been great, because they’re keeping the valley as it is,” he said. “I think it’s great to preserve that valley.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com


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