Hotel Aspen seeks expansion |

Hotel Aspen seeks expansion

Janet Urquhart

Owners of the Hotel Aspen are seeking city approval to add 16 new hotel rooms and three more employee units to the Main Street property.

The former Nugget Lodge at the corner of Main and Garmisch streets is now a 45-unit condominiumized hotel. Ten individual owners of the hotel’s units rent them out as short-term lodging through an on-site manager.

Guest demand for the units has been “phenomenal,” according to managing agent Bob Morris. There has been talk about building a conference facility at the hotel at some point, as well, he said.

The addition would consist of a third floor above the two-story building fronting Main Street and a new building toward the rear of the property, along West Bleeker Street, according to plans filed with the city.

The new employee units would come in addition to the single two-bedroom unit and two studio units already available for workers at the hotel, according to the development application.

The new roof line that would come with the third floor would dramatically change the appearance of the hotel, according to the application. The architectural changes will take the building from “a nondescript, cosmetically updated older lodge to a warm and inviting mountain-style lodge,” the application states.

Six new parking spaces are proposed in conjunction with the expansion, although 11 new spaces are required by the city code for 16 new hotel rooms. Three of the new spaces will serve the new employee units.

The hotel is within the city’s lodge preservation zoning, which allows variances from the code to facilitate lodge expansion.

The lodge currently has 10 spaces on site and has made use of 21 on-street spaces on Garmisch Street. Additional on-street parking is available on West Bleeker, according to the application.

The lodge is located on the city’s bus route and is within walking distance of downtown Aspen, but the expansion application details several additional steps the hotel will take to discourage auto use.

The hotel will offer free use of bicycles to guests during the summer and fall, as well as free taxi vouchers to get guests to and from the airport, according to the application.

The hotel is among a handful of Aspen lodges that are bucking the resort’s trend toward lodge conversions into other uses – especially employee housing.

The St. Moritz Lodge used the lodge preservation zoning to build eight more units and two employee units, and the Boomerang Lodge recently received approval to expand with five chalets and two one-bedroom units, along with two employee units.

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