Hotel Aspen owners buy Molly Gibson | AspenTimes.com
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Hotel Aspen owners buy Molly Gibson

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times
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ASPEN Hotel Aspen owners Michael and Aaron Brown like their neighbors so much, they decided to buy them out Monday for $6.72 million.Michael Brown informed staff at the Molly Gibson Lodge on Tuesday that he plans to upgrade the Main Street hotel. He said he and his brother will maintain the 22,000-square-foot, 52-unit lodge as a hotel – and not cut it into condos.The brothers – Michael splits his time between Chicago and Aspen, and Aaron works in finance in London – have owned the majority shares of the Hotel Aspen since 2004, and said the neighboring hotels have worked well together, sharing guests when one or the other was full. Bringing the two lodges under one umbrella has been in the works for months, Michael Brown said.

While the Brown brothers, under the name HayMax LLC (an amalgam of their middle names), bought the 1960s-era Molly Gibson Lodge for $6.72 million on Monday, Michael Brown estimated the total deal came to more than $10 million.The sellers of the Molly Gibson, Aspen Ski Lodge LLC, had fractionalized the hotel into 34 units, although the units were not sold individually until the Browns bought them all for $129,000 each. The Browns also spent a combined $2.3 million for three larger parcels.Brown said he doesn’t plan to turn the Molly Gibson into condominiums and will run it as a standard lodge instead. “We’re happy to own the whole thing,” Brown said. “We have not intention of fractionalizing.”

And just as the Browns upgraded Hotel Aspen three years ago – everything from towels and bed linens to better televisions – they have the same plans for the Molly Gibson.”We’ll do the things that can be done without altering the structure,” Brown said.He admitted that the prices for rooms likely will go up. But he added that he and his brother are investing because they like what’s going on at their neighboring hotel and want to build on what’s there, especially with the recent loss of lodges like the Limelight and the Snowflake.”We’re happy to have another hotel here,” Brown said. “I love the town.”

The Molly Gibson name will not change, Brown stressed, and there are no plans for closure for planned minor renovations (painting, carpet etc.). Brown added that the 25 Molly Gibson employees will be able to keep their jobs if they like, including current manager David Tash.Tash was not available for comment.One Molly Gibson employee who wanted to remain anonymous said staff has known about the pending sale for weeks but did not know the details.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is cagar@aspentimes.com.


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