Hotel Jerome deal worth more than $70 million

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
The 93-bedroom Hotel Jerome, located on Main Street in Aspen, changed ownership Monday when Houston businessman Dan Friedkin acquired it for a grand total of $72.5 million.
Lauren Glendenning/The Aspen Times |

Monday’s sale of the Hotel Jerome and the former Aspen Times building combined for a total price tag of $72.5 million, according to county property records.

The main property fetched $69.15 million and the building next door, sandwiched between the hotel and Carl’s Pharmacy on Main Street, brought in $3.35 million.

The buyer, Dan Friedkin and Iconic Properties-Jerome LLC, paid the city of Aspen a real estate transfer tax of $522,786 for the hotel and $49,250 for the old Times building, said Don Taylor, the city’s finance director.

The two-story Cortina Lodge, which houses Jerome employees and is about a block away on Main Street, also was included in the deal. The purchase price wasn’t immediately available, but the city collected $31,200 on its sale, Taylor said.

Hotel Jerome General Manager Tony DiLucia said the redevelopment plans by the Jerome’s previous owners, Chicago-based DRW Real Estate, for the old Times building remain on track. DRW bought the building for $3.2 million in August 2012 from the Times parent company, Colorado Mountain News Media Co., which is a division of Nevada-based Swift Communications.

Plans call for a three-story structure to replace all non-historic portions of the old building, from where the newspaper operated for more than 100 years. The new building would have a fitness room and four suites. Other expansion plans are afoot as well, with the proposal to go before the Historic Preservation Committee next month, DiLucia said.

DiLucia said he is excited about the new ownership because it puts the hotel’s ownership and operations under the same umbrella.

Auberge Resorts Collection has operated the Hotel Jerome since 2011. In 2013, Friedkin, of Houston, made a major investment in California-based Auberge Resorts, thrusting him to majority owner of the firm. He also is chair of Auberge’s board of directors.

“What’s important to us, as a hotel and a hotel family, is that the person who has the largest stake in Auberge Resorts and is the chair of Auberge can take the hotel to a new level,” he said. “Now we’re all one family, with the ownership being tied to Auberge.”

An accomplished pilot, Friedkin owns Gulf States Toyota, which was ranked Houston’s largest private company in 2014 by the Houston Chronicle.

In 2013, Texas Monthly ranked Friedkin No. 26 on its list of 41 richest Texans, with a net worth of $2.5 billion, right behind No. 25 Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

A year later Forbes estimated his wealth to be higher, at $3.2 billion, ranking him No. 167 in the Forbes 400.


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