Business Monday: Chase Bank to set up branch in Hyman mall | AspenTimes.com

Business Monday: Chase Bank to set up branch in Hyman mall

Chase Bank has signed a lease with plans to open in the Hyman Avenue mall in October.

One of the first questions people ask when learning that Chase Bank is opening a branch location in the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall is "But does it meet city code?"

Yes, it does.

Chase has entered into a lease with the Paragon Building with plans to open on its ground-level space in October.

It will be Chase's first full-service branch in the Roaring Fork Valley and 37th one to open in Colorado, based on information from its website.

"We already have clients there but as far as the branch footprint, this will be our first in that area," said Maura Cordova, a Chase spokeswoman based in Phoenix.

Chase also is compliant with the city code pertaining to office space on the ground level in the downtown core, said Jessica Garrow, director of the Community Development Department, which reviews all land-use applications within city limits.

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The City Council in 2004 passed an ordinance, which was part of its infill program, partly aimed at increasing the "vitality of the downtown retail environment" with the "rejuvenation of aging properties."

Prompted to tame the surge of real estate offices seizing space downtown, the ordinance bans "Realtors, timeshare sales, nonprofit organizations, travel agents, advertising or insurance agents, lawyers, physicians, dentists, architects, engineers, accountants, other licensed professionals and property management companies or agents" from occupying ground-level space in the core. Existing businesses were grandfathered in.

The ordinance considers Chase Bank, however, an allowable "service" on ground-level space. The ordinance defines service as "commercial establishments engaged in providing personal or financial services to the general public including banking, dry cleaning, laundromat, tailoring, mortuary, post office branch, shipping and receiving services, personal or sporting equipment storage lockers, barber and beauty shop, tattoo parlor, instructional or performing arts studio with no public performances, health and fitness facility, spa, and similar activities."

"The quick answer is banks are considered a service use," Garrow said. "They provide a personal use, so they're allowed."

Chase will hire a staff of about a dozen for the 1,892 square feet of space at 419 E. Hyman Ave., home to a building that was erected in 1888. The New York-based company would not disclose the length of its lease.

"I wouldn't be able to provide specifics, but we are a 200-year-old company and when we enter a community, we do it understanding that we want to deepen our relationships with customers and we are committed to the community for the long-run," Cordova said in an email to The Aspen Times.

As of Friday, Chase had yet to file a building-permit application with the city unveiling its design plans.

"The branch will feature Chase's newest design and state-of-the-art banking technology to serve consumers and businesses," Cordova said.

The retail section of the Paragon condo building has been home to retailers as well as a Ritz-Carlton sales gallery, which was grandfathered in when the ordinance was passed and moved out in December 2006. It also was home to Club 81611, an alcohol-free strip joint that lasted about two months in 1996.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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