Aspen reels in construction parking fees |

Aspen reels in construction parking fees

Coveted parking spaces on East Durant Street in Aspen are being utilized for construction work on October 17.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Aspen is on pace to draw more than $500,000 this year through a city program that earns revenue by charging fees for parking spaces occupied by construction activity.

Through September, the city Parking Department collected $450,115 in fees charged to construction companies and developers that are taking up public parking spots to do their work, according to Mitch Osur, the city’s director of parking and downtown services.

Construction activity in the downtown core, as is often the case during Aspen’s offseasons, is evident on East Main Street, where work is being done on both the Hotel Jerome and Pitkin County government buildings. The site of the Sky Hotel, which was demolished in May, has been the home of the construction of the 91,500-square-foot W Hotel since June.

Northridge Capital, which is working with Aspen developer John Sarpa on the project, paid the city $150,000 up front in June to use six nearby parking spots for the duration of the construction, Osur said.

The Aspen Mountain slopeside hotel, which is part of the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide family, is projected to open in 2019.

Through last week, eight downtown construction projects accounted for 34 fewer public parking spaces downtown, Osur said. That represents less than 10 percent of all 650 parking spaces downtown. At the same time last year, 23 fewer parking spots were available due to construction work.

Contractors pay $75 a day for a downtown parking space. Residential parking spaces, like the ones near the redevelopment of the old Hotel Lenado, which was razed this summer, cost $25 a day.

As of Wednesday, 54 residential parking slots were being used by contractors, Osur said, noting 3,000 two-hour residential spaces over a course of 16 blocks stretch from the West End by the S-curves to the Centennial housing complex near Smuggler Mountain.

Last year the city raised downtown core parking from $25 to $75 a day, and residential parking increased from $10 to $25 a day for contractors, Osur said.

The raised fees have resulted in more construction workers carpooling into Aspen as opposed to commuting in separate vehicles, Osur noted.

“It does appear that people are being more conservative,” he said.

Parking spaces in Aspen can be a scarce commodity, but not this time of the year, even with the symphony of jackhammers in the background.

“On average right now, we’re 75 percent full (in the downtown core),” Osur said. “So there’s still plenty of parking spaces. That’s not the case in the summer.”

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