Four Seasons plans filed with city of Aspen
Developers have submitted plans with the city seeking to build a Four Seasons Hotel comprising four buildings that would include 118 lodging units, 22 fractional-ownership residents, four free-market residences and affordable housing for as many as 80 tenants.
The city alerted Aspen media outlets Thursday about the land-use application, which was filed Monday by Florida-based Cisneros Real Estate with the Community Development Department. The application has yet to be certified by Community Development, said department head Jessica Garrow.
The three-parcel, 6.6-acre property eyed for a Four Seasons is located at the foot of Shadow Mountain on the 700 block of West Hopkins Avenue. In September, the City Council ruled that the residential-zoned property, which is part of a 19.6-acre swath of land, is eligible to be annexed from Pitkin County into city limits. If the annexation comes to fruition, the developers plan to ask that the land be zoned for lodging, affordable housing and planned development.
The application says allowing a hotel in a residential area would continue a “historic development pattern” that has seen other lodges — Aspen Meadows Resort, The Gant, St. Moritz Lodge and the new Aspen Club fractional project — built in residential areas.
The cumulative floor area for the Four Seasons’ lodge, free-market units, fractional units, restaurant and spa would encompass 181,974 square feet, according to the application. The affordable-housing component’s floor area would span 24,018 square feet.
By contrast, the Hotel Jerome has a total area of 113,282 square feet, while the St. Regis Aspen covers 242,040 square feet, according to county property records.
The application comes at a time when the City Council has implemented a ban on development in Aspen’s commercial districts. However, the moratorium, which was passed through emergency legislation in March, doesn’t apply to lodges.
The land-use application also includes an introductory letter from Patrick S. Freeman, president of Cisneros Real Estate, to Garrow.
“From the moment this project was contemplated, we have challenged ourselves to ensure that our vision is one that contributes to the community fabric of Aspen both in the short and long term,” Freeman wrote. “Our organization has a strong history of community engagement and that will continue throughout our efforts in Aspen. The challenges facing this community are ones that we are committed in helping to solve through an acknowledgment of the project’s impacts and thoughtful collaboration.”
Freeman did not return a telephone message, and Sunny Vann, the project’s lead planner, declined comment because the application is awaiting certification from Community Development before it can move forward.
“It is the right position to wait until the submission is deemed complete to respond to inquiries by the applicant,” said R.J. Gallagher, spokesman for the project, in an email. “It is a position of respect by the applicant for the city staff not to get ahead of the process.”
If Aspen gets a Four Seasons, it will be the third one in Colorado, joining Denver and Vail. Other ski resorts with a Four Seasons include Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Whistler, British Columbia.
Of the 118 lodging units, 99 of them would be standard units, 13 of them so-called executive lodge units and six of them one-bedroom lodge suites.
“The standard lodge units will each contain a net livable area of approximately 530 square feet, while the executive units will contain an average of approximately 730 square feet,” the application states. “The one-bedroom lodge suites will average approximately 1,100 square feet.”
The hotel rooms would be located in what the application refers to as Building A, on a lot currently occupied by a Victorian-style home that was built in 1989.
Building A also would include six of the fractional residences, which would cover 1,500 to 2,500 square feet of net livable space, according to the application.
The remaining 16 fractionals would be in Buildings B and C. Fifteen of the fractionals would be two-bedrooms versions, two would have three bedrooms, and five would have four bedrooms.
Free-market and affordable housing
The free-market aspect calls for four 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom units, “which will be condominiumized and sold,” the application says. The units would be located in Building C.
The affordable housing would go in Building D. There would be 19 dormitory-style units, each with four bedrooms and one bathroom and covering 720 square feet. Also proposed are four studio units, each having 500 square feet. Tenants would have access to three separate “communal kitchen/dining areas,” the application says.
Parking and traffic
A two-level subground parking garage would have 133 spaces, with 80 earmarked for hotel and fractional guests, 12 for commercial uses, four for free-market owners and 37 for the affordable-housing tenants.
The application says the hotel would coordinate a high-frequency shuttle service to downtown Aspen with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.
The hotel would fund the seasonal service, which would offer a clockwise loop using Hopkins Avenue, Spring Street, Durant Avenue and Monarch Street. The service would be open to the public.
“Given the low traffic volumes on West Hopkins Avenue, passengers could simply flag down the vehicle at any location,” the application says.
West Hopkins also is a popular route for cyclists who use it to access a network of trails and popular roadways west of Aspen.
The application addresses that, saying “the service vehicles could be limited to a specific speed limit to ensure compatibility with bicycle and pedestrian traffic along Hopkins Avenue.”
Hopkins Avenue runs parallel to and is one block south of Main Street. Because of an increase in traffic using Sixth and Seventh streets to access the Four Seasons, the application suggests reconfiguring Main Street’s median striping between Sixth and Seventh streets “to provide a two-way left turn lane.”
“This would allow northbound drivers turning left from Sixth Street onto Main Street to make a two-stage left turn movement,” the application states.
What about the trees?
All told, some 562 trees on the three lots would have to be removed for the development, according to the application. That cost, based on a preliminary evaluation, would total $790,833, according to the city’s mitigation fees.
“Many of the ornamental trees appear to have been planted sporadically and randomly over time, resulting in a varied density and appearance,” the application says. “The majority of the trees appear to have been irrigated but to have received minimal care over the years resulting in the presence of dead limbs, poor overall structure, and indicators of secondary type pathogens.”
The application adds: “While there are pockets of more valuable trees in certain areas, the overall loss of significant trees will not be considerable, especially in relation to size of the project site and the proposed development’s construction footprint.”
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Onsite parking won out over a Turkish bath at a new lodge planned to be built across from City Market. Aspen’s elected officials didn’t want to burden the neighborhood with offsite parking for the new hotel.