It’s hammer time: From hotels to police stations, Aspen construction scene is alive and well |

It’s hammer time: From hotels to police stations, Aspen construction scene is alive and well

A cement truck backs into the construction zone for the new W Hotel in Aspen previously occupied by Sky Hotel on Friday afternoon. Construction is scheduled to be finished by spring 2019.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Welcome to spring in Aspen, where the sights of cranes, the sounds of jackhammers and the smells of sawdust are back for another encore performance.

Major remodels are underway in the downtown core, from the conversion of the old Main Street Bakery into a small grocery store to the former Little Annie’s Eating House into an oyster restaurant, as well as ground-up projects including a new Aspen Police Department and a slopeside W Hotel.

Other projects, such as developer Mark Hunt’s redevelopment of the old Crystal Palace building into a boutique hotel and his potential plans to demolish the old Aspen Daily News building, are in the pike.

The construction valuation of building permits the city issued in January and February was nearly $38 million, down from the $41.9 million for the first two months of 2017 and the $107.4 million (which included building permits for the expansion of Aspen Valley Hospital) in the same period of 2016, according to city records.

Those numbers can be skewed, noted Jessica Garrow, who heads the city’s Community Development Department, because permit applications can be submitted months before their approval.

Garrow said the trend is pointing toward more residential preservation work, while the city’s revised and stricter land-use code, which City Council amended last year through a series of ordinances, has slowed down land-use applications for commercial development.

“We’ll get inquiries (for commercial developments), but we haven’t seen the applications that we did see on the commercial side prior to the moratorium,” Garrow said in reference to the City Council’s March 2016 freeze on all development applications in Aspen’s commercial zone districts. The city lifted the moratorium one year later.

Nevertheless, evidence of city-approved development projects by both the private and public sectors can be found throughout downtown Aspen and on Main Street.

The following is a recap of the higher profile commercial projects in the downtown core:

Aspen Police Department

Address: 540 E. Main St.

Square feet of work: 28,000

Details: Aspen’s police force will relocate from its space in the basement of the Pitkin County Courthouse to a new building less than a block away. In addition to the new 18,815-square-foot headquarters, the site will include an affordable-housing complex with three one-bedroom units, three two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units.

Project cost: $23 million (construction, soft costs, design)

Estimated completion date: This summer

Clark’s Oyster Bar (formerly Little Annie’s)

Address: 517 E. Hyman Ave.

Square feet of work: 3,897

Details: Texas restaurateur Larry McGuire and partners bought the spot for $2 million last year and started a remodel project calling for a New England or Seattle-style seaside cabin that will include the refurbished original bar, a fireplace and a skylight.

Project cost: $2.5 million

Estimated completion date: June

Crystal Palace remodel

Address: 300 and 312 E. Hyman Ave.

Square feet of work: 36,516

Details: The upper floors will have 16 rooms, while the ground-floor level will feature a 4,950-square-foot restaurant and kitchen. The lower level calls for a fitness center, restrooms, locker areas and a guest lounge.

Project cost: $12 million

Estimated completion date: Not available; building-permit application filed in February awaiting approval

Hotel Jerome/former Aspen Times building

Address: 330 E. Main St.

Square feet of work: n/a

Details: Renovation of swimming pool, courtyard and hot tubs, along with the addition of eight keys (which also can function as two three-bedroom suites) in a new building behind the historic Aspen Times building. New event space also will open in the courtyard, while the Times building will feature an old-fashioned barber shop as well as an entrance to an underground speakeasy.

Estimated completion date: Garden plaza by third week of May, interior work in June

Hotel Lenado redevelopment

Address: 200 S. Aspen St.

Square feet of work: 21,116

Details: The boutique hotel will include nine suites, a lounge and bar, two residential penthouses, on-site affordable housing and underground parking.

Project cost: $8.45 million

Estimated completion date: Not available

Pitkin County Administration and Public Safety building

Address: 530 E. Main St.

Square feet of work: 48,000

Details: The project includes 16,000 square feet of the remodeled former Courthouse Plaza building, an additional 24,000 square feet of office space, meeting and operating space, and 8,000 square feet of underground parking. The Sheriff’s Office, like the Police Department, also will relocate from its space in the Pitkin County Courthouse.

Project cost: $25.9 million

Estimated completion date: Third week of June, with county departments moving in June and July

W Hotel (formerly Sky Hotel location)

Address: 709 E. Durant Ave.

Square feet of work: 128,000 gross

Details: The W Hotel will replace — and dwarf — the former 43,605-square-foot, 90-room Sky Hotel with 104 rooms that will include 11 fractional-ownership units, along with a rooftop patio bar with a pool and hot tub, fire pits, a dance floor, a cabana and panoramic views of Aspen Mountain, among other features.

Project cost: $56.5 million

Estimated completion date: Spring of 2019

602 E. Hyman Ave. building

Address: 602 E. Hyman Ave.

Square feet of work: An addition of nearly 1,800 square feet to the existing 5,032-square-foot structure

Details: The remodel of the building will include upgrades to space for ground-level retail tenants.

Project cost: $3.9 million

Estimated completion date: Mid to late 2019

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