Mark Hunt weighs options for Aspen Conoco spot
Developer Mark Hunt said Wednesday he plans to build a “relatively small” building at the Conoco service station site, and he’s currently talking to prospective tenants.
“From listening to the people and the public, I know that size really does matter there, so I’m going to do my best to make that thing as small as possible,” he said.
In the November election, Aspen voters rejected Hunt’s Base2 Lodge proposal at 232 E. Main St. The would-be 37-room lodge generated 1,792 votes, or 62.8 percent of the voting electorate, against it. Another 1,060 votes, or 37.2 percent, supported it.
The vote was instigated by a petition drive that successfully aimed to overturn Aspen City Council’s variances given to the lodge. Those concessions included giving the lodge more than three times its allowable floor area for the site, 15,000 square feet, in addition to variances for employee housing and setbacks.
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During the campaign, proponents of Base2 said Hunt just as easily could build a similarly sized building in the same location but with less density. And foes of Base2 portrayed that strategy as a threat.
But Hunt said that isn’t his plan.
“I have no intention to say it’s going to be the same sized box,” he said. “I know people mentioned that, but I never threatened that.
“It’s just going to be a small commercial building, and I’m talking to potential tenants.”
He said the building would be 6,000 to 7,500 square feet.
Hunt has yet to file a development application for the space with the city’s Community Development Department, which processes and reviews the paperwork before it goes to any city advisory or elected boards.
“I’m working on a couple of options, and I hope to get something in relatively soon,” he said.
Hunt bought the property, which has a footprint of 6,000 square feet, for $6 million in June 2014. The existing Conoco building, erected in 1985, has a total area of 1,637 square feet, according to the Pitkin County Assessor’s Office.
The property is zoned for mixed use within the Main Street Historic District.
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The Aspen City Council directed staff to work with restaurants and retail shops to find out how much interest there is in expanding into the public right-of-way. Use of interior space will be limited for an unknown time so businesses will be given the opportunity to use public right-of-way.