Isis talks break down
Aspen has broken off negotiations to purchase the Isis Theatre, but city officials are exploring other options to acquire the property.The City Council met for an hour behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss the state of the Isis negotiations. Afterward, Mayor Helen Klanderud said, “We are not in negotiations with the current owners, but we are exploring options.”We’re still interested in seeing a movie theater in downtown Aspen. We think that’s an important asset,” she added.City Attorney John Worcester declined to comment on what other options the city is contemplating now that the council has decided not to put the Isis under contract for $8.75 million – a proposal it first revealed publicly nearly two weeks ago.Friendly condemnation is still an option, Worcester said. “Like Bush says, everything’s on the table.”Sam Houston, spokesman for the partnership that owns the Hopkins Avenue theater, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.The city announced earlier this month that it was contemplating putting the Isis under contract in order to preserve Aspen’s last cinema. At the time of the announcement, the only other movie theater in town, Stage 3 Theatres, was closing and two other purchase offers for the Isis were reportedly on the table. Klanderud expressed fear that all or part of the five-screen Isis could be converted to another use, putting the future of first-run movies here in question.The city asked the Isis owners to give local government until midnight May 16 to decide whether to put the property under contract, pending a November vote by residents on a funding question to buy the theater. The council ultimately let that deadline lapse without acting.A $500,000 nonrefundable deposit was apparently a sticking point for at least some council members; the city would lose that money if voters nixed the deal.Since the potential purchase of the Isis came to light, community members have floated various ideas, including the condemnation option and having an entity other than the city put up the $500,000.”I’ve had one phone call from a gentleman who asked if that was an option,” Worcester said of the latter proposal.”Everything is on the table,” he reiterated.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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