Legal fight heats up over Aspen’s old Stage 3 site |

Legal fight heats up over Aspen’s old Stage 3 site

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Alpine Bank is asking a judge to either drop Aspen Main Street Properties’ bankruptcy or allow the bank to foreclose on the old Stage 3 property.

A court motion introduced last month by Alpine Bank claims that the Chapter 11 filing by Aspen Main Street Properties on March 15 was done to stave off a foreclosure auction scheduled two days later.

The motion says that the company owes the bank $13.6 million, while the latest appraisal value of the property – located at 625 E. Main St. – is $7 million, “indicating that Alpine is undersecured by approximately $6,612,418.33.”

But in a motion filed last week by Aspen Main Street Properties, the Dallas-based developer maintains the “estimated value” of the property exceeds $19 million.

The bank’s motion also indicates concern that Aspen Main Street Properties has “no independent ability to pay critical insurance premiums that come due in the near term and [that] the real property continues to decline in value as its improvements remain exposed to the elements.”

Alpine Bank’s filing marks the latest legal volley between it and the Texas developer, which acquired the property in question in May 2006 for $5 million from the Carmisch Brothers of Minnesota. For 20 years the property was home to the Stage 3 movie theater complex.

In 2007 Aspen Main Street Properties razed the theater building with plans to redevelop the property into a 27,000-square-foot, mixed-use building that would include office and commercial space, along with five free-market condominiums, five affordable-housing units and 28 parking spaces. Construction was suspended in the winter of 2008, and Alpine Bank began foreclosure proceedings in August 2009, claiming that Aspen Main Street Properties was delinquent on a $4.7 million loan.

Aspen Main Street Properties then sued Alpine Bank in Pitkin County District Court to prevent the property from going to foreclosure, but a judge ruled that the sale was valid, clearing the way for the property to be sold at auction.

Alpine Bank’s recent motion also questions the ability of Aspen Main Street Properties to reorganize its debts through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which was filed in Dallas. The bankruptcy lists its assets as between $10 million and $50 million, and its liabilities as between $10 million and $50 million as well.

“… It appears [Aspen Main Street Properties] is using the bankruptcy to impermissibly frustrate Alpine’s legal attempts to sell the property as ordered by the Colorado state court,” the motion says.

Aspen Main Street, however, contends that it filed the bankruptcy in “good faith.”


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