L.A. developer Jason Grosfeld behind the East Hyman project
The Victorian miner’s cottage has been removed. Excavation currently is underway for a sub-ground basketball court, swimming pool and workout room. Plans are to complete the 12,573-square-foot single-family home, located at 201 E. Hyman Ave. next to the Limelight Hotel, within the next 18 to 19 months, according to the owner’s representative.
Just by virtue of its design and location, which is a few blocks from Aspen Mountain, it’s a high-profile project. And its owner also is high-profile in the world of development, but he wears no NBA title rings like the man rumored to be buying the property.
Los Angeles developer Jason Grosfeld is the man behind Los Angeles-based 210 EH Investments, which acquired the 8,000-square-foot plot of land for $4.8 million in September 2012. But the one question that can’t be immediately answered is whether Grosfeld plans to make it his home or is building it on spec.
“It was to be a spec development, but he’s said he wants it to be his house,” said Derek Skalko, Grosfeld’s Aspen representative for the project. “We’ve had inquiries on the house, but he has flat-out turned down at least five offers.”
The name of NBA superstar LeBron James has been linked to the project, from construction workers on the site to officials with the city of Aspen. But, Skalko said, the property has no connection to James. Another NBA player, however, has expressed interest in the future home, he said.
“Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets center and frequent Aspen visitor) came to us and inquired about it,” Skalko said. “We said your offer has to be ridiculous for us to consider, and we never heard back.”
The project will cost $9 million to complete, according to its building permit on file with the city. Basalt-based Brikor Associates is the project’s contractor.
“All I can tell you is the owner has an NBA affiliation and we’re building an indoor basketball court,” said Briston Peterson, principal with the firm. “We have confidentiality agreements we sign with our clients, and that’s all I can say.”
Broker Andrew Ernemann, who represented Grosfeld when he bought the property, said he too had heard the James rumors, which he said Grosfeld found amusing.
Grosfeld’s ties to Trump
Grosfeld, whose online resume says he likes to play basketball and ski, was out of the country Monday and couldn’t be reached for comment.
Previous published reports have alluded to his NBA connections when he was building the Trump International Hotel and Tower at Waikiki Beach Walk in Hawaii. Grosfeld, who teamed with Donald Trump on the project, told the now-defunct Honolulu Star Bulletin in November 2006 that multiple NBA players, as well as other wealthy suitors, were eying investments in the project.
Grosfeld, founder of the real estate development firm Irongate, also teamed with Trump on a resort in Baja Mexico. But the project never got off the ground, leading to a lawsuit from buyers who said they combined to lose more than $20 million on the project, according to published reports. In October 2012, the Los Angeles Superior Court ordered Grosfeld to pay $7.25 million as part of a settlement, while Trump, now a presidential candidate and a co-defendant in the suit, protested the settlement, saying that Grosfeld should have paid the entire $20 million. Trump denied having any involvement in the project other than providing his name.
Grosfeld’s Irongate also has built a Ritz-Carlton Residences in Waikiki.
The Aspen project
The East Hyman project received its building permit in March. Designed by Brooklyn-based Guerin Glass Architects, the home will have a wine room, recreation room, massage room and seven bedrooms — including separate his and hers master bedrooms.
The house will be two stories above ground, but the basement project, with some 40 feet of excavation needed, is what the construction has been about lately.
“We will be digging for the next few months,” Skalko said.
Because of construction of the underground half-court basketball court and other potential impacts, the miner’s cottage — which is part of the city’s historic inventory — was removed. It currently rests on a parcel owned by the Smuggler Racquet Club but will return to the site as part of the project.
“This home is historically important for several reasons,” said a Sept. 25, 2013-dated memo to from then-Historic Preservation officer Amy Guthrie to the Aspen Historic Preservation Commission. “The estimated construction date is 1883, which is very early in Aspen’s history, especially for such a nicely detailed home. Few of the remaining Aspen ‘miner’s cottages’ are from the early 1880s.”
The basketball court — the gym will have a 20-foot high ceiling — is the featured underground amenity. Also included are a subgrade weight room that will look over the court, and a swimming pool will be in the basement level, as well.
That so-called double-based project, along with another one on Crystal Lake Road and other similar developments, prompted Aspen City Council in October to pass a land-use code amendment limiting basements to a single level with excavations not exceeding 15 feet. Council members said their biggest concerns about double basements were driven by construction impacts to neighbors.
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