Future of Aspen’s Fly Lounge up in the air
ASPEN Not even open for a year, the owner of the Fly Lounge is ready to ground his operation by putting the Aspen business up for sale.Britt Swan, who owns the majority interest in the underground nightclub at 426 E. Hyman Ave., has listed the business for $1.35 million, according to two business brokerage websites.The nightclub produces $1.67 million in gross revenues and has a cash flow of $494,000, according to a posting on globalbx.com, an online business brokerage site. Included in the sale is fixtures, furniture and assets totaling $584,000 and an inventory of $10,000, according to the listing.Swan last year purchased the business from former Lava Room owners Brendan and Brandon Jordan for $250,000 $100,000 in cash and the remaining balance in a non-negotiable promissory note.Swan took over the lease for the space in March 2007, and he pays nearly $10,000 a month in rent. The lease is with L&M Properties and extends five years.Swan didnt return phone messages seeking comment for this story, but the website says absentee owner wishes to sell the business.The Fly Lounge has hit turbulence ever since Swan took over the lease from the Jordans. For months, Swan paid more than $100,000 in rent with no steady stream of income. The club was supposed to open in November 2007, but construction delays and the firing of the general contractor delayed the opening until March 2008, leaving only a few weeks left to capitalize on the ski season.This past summer was slow, as were the offseasons. The club was open only two days a week.Then in December, Swan replaced the majority of his staff in one night. About a half-dozen staffers showed up to work only to find out they had been replaced with a new crew. About a week before, the clubs general manager, Rob Schick, was fired. Accusations of embezzlement by some staffers have floated around town but no formal charges have been filed.Employees who were let go said they hadnt been paid in two months.Swan told The Aspen Times last month that he was ramping back up with a new staff and opening the club six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday.On Wednesday, a Fly Lounge representative appeared in Aspen municipal court to answer to 10 counts of violating the noise ordinance. Assistant City Attorney Jim True said each count carries up to $1,000 in fines.The matter was continued for two weeks.There have been dozens of calls for service from the Aspen Police Department to the Fly Lounge over the past year, ranging from noise complaints to assaults, fights and disturbances, according to police records.The club is designed to look like the inside of an airplane fuselage, and waitresses are dressed as flight attendants. Bottle service at VIP tables inside the club starts at $600.The business description on globalbx.com offers this synopsis of the Fly Lounge: Hip, trendsetting bar/nightclub for sale in beautiful Aspen, Colorado … For nightlife revelers that love a catchy trend, this Aspen hot spot mixes a cool cocktail lounge with a quirky aviation theme. The idea came to fruition from a veteran DJ-turned-pilot owner teaming up with a seasoned nightlife promoter who launched their first airline-theme lounge on the East Coast. With an outpost in Washington, DC., the Aspen property offers an interior lounge area modeled after a Leer jet zipping through the clouds. While we tend to think lacquered burled wood and comfy club chairs for private aviation, this cabin features brown leather banquettes and Plexiglass cocktail tables with glossy white walls and rectangular submarine windows. The cocktail crew is a group of leggy Fly attendants that mix sexy and sass between rounds of frosty vodka shots and bottles of Krug. Aspen, often known as a celebrity hang out, is one of the hottest skiing and vacation destinations in the West. The city today remains a mix of high-end luxury homes and condos intermixed with legacy residences populated by an old guard of Aspen residents struggling to maintain the unique character of the city. Aspen has become a second and third home to many international jet setters …The description also adds that the unique concept bar offers bottle service in what is described as an excellent location. The Discovery Channel has filmed there and the Bravo channel was scheduled to film over the holiday season. VH1 has expressed interest in a project at the nightclub and it has been rented out by Red Bull, Burton Snowboards and ESPN during the Winter X Games for parties.The downstairs space has operated as four other nightclubs since the building was constructed in 1969, said George Lapin, who holds the master lease on the property. First it was The Slope, which was below the Aspen Mine Co. That place was a blast and very popular in the 70s and 80s with the locals, Lapin recalled.Lapin and another partner then opened Club Freedom, which lasted for more than a decade. It then became Club 426, before the Lava Room and now, the Fly Lounge.firstname.lastname@example.org
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