Aspen restaurant project hits snag, has to stop remodel work
The planned summer opening of a downtown Aspen restaurant has been sidetracked by an order from the city to stop construction work on a renovation project.
Earlier this month, the city placed what is called a red-tag notice on the future site of Duemani, an upscale Italian restaurant that will be located in the space that Rustique Bistro had occupied since 2000 before closing in April.
The red-tag will serve as a stop-work order until the owners remedy the violation, which essentially was that they did not have the proper permit for the work being done on the property, said Mike Metheny, the city’s chief building official.
“They started doing some plumbing work and it just got worse and worse,” he said. “Basically as they uncovered things, it reached the point where we felt they need a full-on building permit to do this work.”
The owners have been cooperative, and they previously had secured city permits for what was initially believed to be a limited scope of work, Metheny said.
“They had to remove this wall and that wall and the next thing, and it just became bigger and bigger,” he said.
Attempts to reach Luigi Giordani and Gretchen Leary, the operators of Acquolina restaurant on Main Street, as well as unopened Duemani restaurant, were unsuccessful this and last week.
A city notice placed on the front section of the building’s exterior set a deadline of May 16 for the violation to be corrected. On May 14, the business owners had submitted a building-permit application with the city.
Duemani will be located at 301 E. Hopkins Ave., otherwise known as the Katie Reed Building, which also includes the Cottage building as well as the building home to Hooch and Meat and Cheese.
On Jan. 4, Aspen native Jimmy Marcus and West Palm Beach, Florida, firm Wexford Capital LP acquired the plaza for $14.8 million from a group of investors controlled by Aspen law firm Garfield & Hecht PC.
The new owners are seeking restaurant tenants for the Cottage space as well as the spot from where the Cooking School of Aspen operated.
“Along with finding tenants to occupy these three spaces, the new owners will be doing an extensive interior and exterior renovation of the building transforming the building into what will feel like a brand new space, while retaining the charm and character of this historic location,” said an April 15-dated statement from the new owners.
Contacted last week, Marcus said the ownership isn’t involved with or responsible for the stop-work order at the Duemani location.
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The Aspen and Carbondale community schools will hold a mid-May fundraiser that they hope will set them on the right financial path for 2021-22.