Hyatt ready to go | AspenTimes.com

Hyatt ready to go

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Construction of the Hyatt Grand Aspen, stalled first by a lawsuit and then a struggling economy, will finally get under way next week.

The 51-unit, timeshare hotel is slated for construction on the Dean Street site where the former Grand Aspen Hotel once stood, south of the Silver Circle Ice Rink.

Excavation work and shoring up of the site will allow crews to begin building the foundation in December, followed by construction of the hotel. It will take almost two years to complete.

Hyatt Vacation Club, which will operate the hotel, has begun taking reservations from prospective buyers at its sales office on the corner of Mill Street and Hopkins Avenue.

“I would say the response so far has exceeded our expectations,” said Larry Shulman, vice president of Hyatt Vacation Ownership.

Of the decision to move forward with the hotel, he said: “It certainly appears that we’re getting some signals that Aspen is highly desirable and downtown Aspen is highly desirable.”

Actual sales are expected to begin in mid-January, when the first group of buyers will have a chance to select their weeks.

Buyers will have 17 days to spend at the Hyatt, including a fixed week in a particular unit and 10 days that can vary from year to year. They can also trade their time for stays at other vacation properties.

Fixed weeks will be sold during the Christmas/New Year’s holidays and in February, March, July and August. The spring and fall months, June and time during the ski season, including the month of January, will be open for the floating days.

“We think that there’s a tremendous amount of value in the unassigned time,” Shulman said.

The Hyatt will offer two one-bedroom suites of about 900 and 1,100 square feet; 19 two-bedroom suites ranging in size from about 1,250 to 1,700 square feet; and 30 three-bedroom suites of roughly 1,600 to 2,600 square feet.

Buyers who schedule their fixed week during the summer will see slightly lower prices.

Timeshare prices at the Hyatt will range from less than $85,000 to $145,000 for the one-bedrooms; $115,000 to just under $200,000 for the two-bedrooms; and $170,000 to $270,000 for the three-bedrooms, Shulman said.

The Christmas/New Year’s package will run from about $250,000 in a one-bedroom suite to about $600,000 for a three-bedroom unit, according to Shulman.

The Grand Aspen will be the 12th of what Hyatt calls its Vacation Club resort properties. Its Main Street Station hotel in Breckenridge opened about a year ago and is 75 percent sold, Shulman said.

Hyatt Mountain Lodge in Beaver Creek opened several years ago. Sales began with construction and the shares were nearly all sold before the hotel was finished, he said.

“This [the Hyatt Grand Aspen] will be the star ” at the top of our resorts,” he said.

Four Peaks Developments, the hotel’s developer, won final approval for the project from the city in January 2002 and construction was initially slated to begin that spring. The project was held up, though, when neighbors filed a lawsuit. The litigation was dropped in August 2002, but the slumping economy left developers wary of moving forward.

The old Grand Aspen Hotel was razed in 2001. The site has been little more than a big hole in the ground, surrounded by a fence, since then.

The adjacent Silver Circle Ice Rink, also owned by Four Peaks, may be temporarily affected by construction, but will be in operation as usual this winter as much as possible, said a project spokesman.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]


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