For real estate firm, no place like home |

For real estate firm, no place like home

ASPEN ” One of the Roaring Fork Valley’s largest real estate firms recently decided to hit the market itself and purchase property in Aspen to secure a permanent home.

Chaffin Light Real Estate purchased the Hannah Dustin Building at 300 S. Springs St. last year for $7.65 million. Now it is preparing to break ground on an expansion that will become its Aspen home, according to managing partner Mark Overstreet.

The acquisition of the existing 5,175-square-foot building and adjacent developable land is part of Chaffin Light’s broader strategic move to own its offices, rather than rely on inexpensive but potentially uncertain leases. The firm also owns two office buildings in Basalt, as well as space on the Snowmass Village Mall.

In Aspen, Chaffin Light will add three stories of office suites to the Hannah Dustin building. The addition will be about 3,300 square feet, including an affordable-housing unit in the basement, Overstreet said.

The building came with approvals for the expansion. Chaffin Light went back to the city for minor changes to the redevelopment plan. The firm hopes to break ground before the end of September and complete the addition by Thanksgiving 2009, Overstreet said.

Chaffin Light Real Estate currently leases office space at 606 E. Hyman Ave., where Carol Ann Jacobson Realty was located.

Overstreet said 10 brokers in the new Aspen office will temporarily be located on the three floors of the addition once it opens. The office space in the existing building is currently leased. As those leases expire, the real estate business aims to consolidate its operations on the first floor of the existing building and expansion. As that occurs, offices in the upper stories of the addition will be rented.

The real estate firm also has purchased office space and expanded in Basalt. It bought and remodeled a 4,100-square-foot building in the Riverwalk project two years ago. It located its support services ” such as marketing and accounting ” for its three real estate offices at that centralized location.

The securing of permanent homes for all its operations comes on the heels of Chaffin Light’s consolidation of its three offices under the same name. Partners Jim Light and Jim Chaffin owned and operated three real estate firms under different names until last year. They had the Snowmass Real Estate Co., since the late 1970s. They bought Chardonnay Real Estate in 1997 and operated it as Roaring Fork Real Estate. In 2002, they purchased Carol Ann Jacobson Realty.

Chaffin and Light are longtime developers who for years were based in Snowmass Village. They also are partners in the team that developed the Roaring Fork Club in Basalt.

Another of the largest real estate firms in the valley also is preparing to remodel its site and secure its home in Aspen. Coates, Reid and Waldron Real Estate plans to remodel its office at 720 E. Hyman Ave. in April 2009, according to Brent Waldron, one of the firm’s partners.

Nick Coates, another of the partners, sold the building in October 2006, but the real estate firm secured a long-term lease as part of the deal. Coates, Reid and Waldron will vacate the bottom floor while its offices there are remodeled and slightly expanded, Waldron said. It will relocate all its offices to the second and third floors of the building.

Once the first floor is finished, the real estate firm will remodel office space on the second floor and permanently vacate the third floor, Waldron said. The new owners of the building, John Martin and a partner, will redevelop the third floor with offices and residences, he said.

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