Aspen’s controversial, historic Boomerang Lodge sells for $10 million | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s controversial, historic Boomerang Lodge sells for $10 million

Aspen developer Mark Hunt has purchased the historic Boomerang Lodge and the land it sits on at Fourth Street and Hopkins Avenue for $10 million.

The deal was recorded with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder's Office on Tuesday. Hunt bought the 27,000-square-foot parcel from a company known as FSP ABR LLC and Baltimore-based Alex Brown Realty.

Local businessman Steve Stunda also had an interest in the property, which has seen several land-use proposals that faced opposition either from neighbors or Aspen City Council.

Hunt declined comment when asked about his specific plans.

Steven Goldenberg, who lives in the neighborhood, said he met with Hunt about a month ago.

Goldenberg said Hunt is intending to build a few homes on the property and possibly use the historically designated building for lodge rooms.

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Goldenberg, who along with his neighbors filed a lawsuit in 2011 aiming to stop a proposed affordable-housing project on the site, said he'll have to wait to see what Hunt proposes before forming an opinion.

"As long as it fits in with the neighborhood, I'm OK with it," he said.

The sellers had approvals for a 47-room lodge at 45,000 square feet that dated back to 2006. They let those lapse in March, due to the cost of construction and the challenging economics of the project.

They bought the 1950s-era lodge in 2005 from Charles Paterson, along with an adjacent property. They paid $7.5 million for the Boomerang parcel.

A year later, the group demolished part of the lodge to make way for the 2006 development. Financing dried up as they muddled through government red tape, the recession hit and then the 40-room affordable-housing project was introduced and pulled.

Earlier this year, FSP ABR LLC was under contract with another group — Marshall Tycher and Eric Witmondt — principals of ME Aspen Ventures One LLC. They had proposed a new project that included a 36,000-square-foot building comprised of free-market condos, rental suites and lodge units.

But Aspen Ventures One withdrew the proposal in January, saying through their land-use consultant that it would not pencil out with the changes the city was requesting. They subsequently walked away from the pending sale.

Whatever is built there will still require approval by City Council. The property is zoned residential, with a lodge preservation overlay, which allows for other uses such as free-market, multi-family and affordable housing.

The eastern third of the property has the original lodge, which has a historic designation on it, so the building must remain there. That leaves about 18,000 square feet that can be developed.

Hunt, who represents investors in several LLCs that own a dozen or so buildings in Aspen, bought the Mill Street Commercial Center last week for $15 million. The building is located near the post office and the Clark's Market area.

Earlier this week Hunt agreed to sell a building to the city of Aspen for $23 million, and the city plans to put offices there.

csackariason@aspentimes.com