Fox gives up Aspen Club fight as foreclosure action begins |

Fox gives up Aspen Club fight as foreclosure action begins

Attorneys for the stalled Aspen Club & Spa redevelopment project filed court papers Friday indicating the club and its creditors have agreed to dismiss its bankruptcy case.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Failing financial health at the Aspen Club: a time line

June 2010 — Aspen Club wins final approval from City Council to build a timeshare project and redevelop and expand the club

March 2015 — City Council approves Aspen Club’s plans to alter project from 2010 approvals

April 2016 — Aspen Club closes to prepare for redevelopment project

August 2017 — Construction workers leave job because they are owed money for labor and materials.

November 2017 — Lender FirstBank takes foreclosure action on Aspen Club

December 2017 — GPIF Aspen Club acquires $45 million loan note from FirstBank

March 2018 — GPIF Aspen Club takes foreclosure action on Aspen Club

May 2019 — Aspen Club & Spa declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy

July 22 — Aspen Club loses motion to obtain $140 million in financing, money it intended to use to pay back creditors and restart the project

Sept. 1, 2020 — Judge dismisses bankruptcy case

Sept. 2, 2020 — Note-holder GPIF Aspen Club takes foreclosure steps on Aspen Club

The Aspen Club and Spa is out of bankruptcy and back into foreclosure, but this time owner Michael Fox said he and his team won’t be battling their creditors.

Fox held an optimistic outlook about The Aspen Club’s prospects when it had been pushed into foreclosure before, as well as when it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2019.

Last week, however, saw a judge dismiss the bankruptcy case in Denver on Sept. 1 and a creditor file documents in Pitkin County on Sept. 2 to foreclose on the east Aspen property.

“We’re in support of the foreclosure,” Fox said Wednesday. “And we’re not going to stay in the way of these guys.”

GPIF Aspen Club for the second time is attempting to foreclose on the Aspen Club. Attorneys at the law firm that filed foreclosure paperwork with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but the documents state that Aspen Club owes $30 million to GPIF.

GPIF Aspen Club is affiliated with Dallas investor Jeff Goff’s GP Invitation Funds and is associated with companies that own the Canyon Ranch luxury resorts in Tucson, Arizona, and Lenox, Massachusetts, and the Brown Palace hotel in Denver.

Aspen Club attorneys previously argued in the bankruptcy proceedings that GPIF Aspen Club was making a play on the property, something GPIF’s legal team argued was not the case.

Fox, however, said “at this point, it is in the best interest of everybody to get a quick foreclosure and quick sale of the asset and into the hands of someone that can get this thing finished.”

The construction project site — at 1450 Ute Ave. in east Aspen — remains preserved, with 15 of its townhomes between 60% and 80% complete, six condominiums 30% complete, and the commercial component 30% complete, according to filings in the bankruptcy case.

The property has rights for the remodel of the 40,000-square-foot Aspen Club & Spa building, the construction of a 54,000-square-foot lodge with 20 timeshares, and 12 multi-family affordable-housing units.

GPIF Aspen Club previously took foreclosure action at the club in March 2018. At that time, Aspen Club pushed off the foreclosure auction by declaring bankruptcy in May 2019.

GPIF’s previous foreclosure history with the Aspen Club will have no bearing on the current action, said Sydney Tofany, the county’s deputy treasurer and public trustee.

“This is a brand-new foreclosure with a different foreclosure number,” she said. “It has to run the through process; it has to be noticed in the newspapers.”

The Aspen Club also won’t be declaring bankruptcy again, based on an agreement it has with the creditors as part of an agreement to dismiss the Chapter 11 case.

It was GPIF Aspen that also challenged The Aspen Club’s attempt to get $140 million in what is called “exit financing” in bankruptcy speak. A judge denied that loan July 22, effectively crippling the club’s efforts to pay back more than $100 million in debt to contractors, loan-note holders and other creditors and restart the project.