Hotel Jerome in Aspen changes ownership |

Hotel Jerome in Aspen changes ownership

Aspen's famous Hotel Jerome, built by Jerome Wheeler in 1889, changed ownership in February when it was sold to Houstonian Dan Friedkin.
Lauren Glendenning/The Aspen Times |

Aspen’s iconic Hotel Jerome has a new owner.

Houston businessman Dan Friedkin closed on his purchase of the Main Street lodge Monday following negotiations that begun in the fall. The seller was Chicago-based DRW Real Estate. The price of the transaction was not immediately available.

The sale won’t translate into an overhaul of management, staff or operations, said Tony DiLucia, the hotel’s general manager.

That’s because Friedkin is the majority owner and chairman of the board of Auberge Resorts Collection, a California-based company that manages high-end hotels that include Hotel Jerome.

In a statement about the purchase, Friedkin said, “My family and I have enjoyed many years of visiting and owning residences in Aspen, and it’s a very special place to me personally. I could not be more pleased to welcome Hotel Jerome into our investment portfolio. It has an enviable and storied history as a landmark American hotel, and it is most certainly one of the flagship properties of the Auberge Resorts Collection.”

Don Wilson, managing partner of DRW, said: “We fully support Dan Friedkin and Auberge Resorts in this transition. Under Dan’s stewardship and Auberge’s management, Hotel Jerome has a very bright future.”

Under Wilson’s ownership, the 93-room hotel, which spans more than 113,000 square feet, underwent a major renovation in 2012.

Auberge has run Hotel Jerome since 2011, when it took over for Vail Resorts subsidiary RockResorts.

“We’re currently being managed by Auberge, so we’re all in one family now with the new ownership,” DiLucia said, adding that he was scheduled to notify the staff at 5 p.m. Monday.

DiLucia borrowed a phrase that was coined to describe the hotel’s change of hands in 2005, when longtime owners Jim McManus and Dick Butera sold it to Oklahoma Publishing, which is owned by the famed Gaylord family, for $33.7 million.

“It’s a beautiful hand-off of stewardship,” DiLucia said, “and that was what Jim McManus said when it was sold to the Gaylord family.”

Faced with redevelopment difficulties imposed by the city of Aspen, Oklahoma Publishing sold the hotel to Chicago-based Elysian Worldwide LLC and Lodging Capital Partners LLC in 2007 for $52.2 million. As part of a complicated deal mired by foreclosure proceedings, DRW Real Estate later acquired it in 2011.

The Pitkin County Assessor’s Office has appraised the hotel’s actual worth at $34.9 million and its assessed value at $10.1 million. In 1986, the hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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