Mark Hunt’s boutique lodge to get Aspen City council scrutiny

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Mark Hunt is proposing a 16-room, luxury boutique hotel for the old Crystal Palace building on East Hyman Avenue.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

Two lodge proposals for downtown Aspen — one for the Lift 1A base at Aspen Mountain, the other that would be converted from the Crystal Palace building — received different directives from City Council at its Monday meeting.

The City Council decided it will let stand the Planning and Zoning Commission’s March 15 approval of the Lift One Lodge application.

On March 15, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved minor amendments to the Lift One Lodge land-use application by brothers Aaron and Michael Brown and Los Angeles developer Jason Grosfeld.

The minor amendment sought to increase the lodge’s net leasable space from the previously approved 5,263 square feet to 23,676 square feet. The building’s footprint won’t change with the amendment, which applied to one of four lots that are part of the project.

The lodge would be built at the base of Lift 1A on Aspen Mountain beneath the site for the planned Gorsuch Haus, a 75,000-square-foot, 61-room hotel.

However, the council called up the Historic Preservation Commission’s March 9 approval of developer Mark Hunt’s boutique lodge in the old Crystal Palace space on the 300 block of East Hyman Avenue. The council will get its first look at Hunt’s proposal at its April 25 meeting.

Hunt’s lodge proposal caught the attention of Councilwoman Ann Mullins, who argued that the council should review it because of concerns about its facade, windows and other elements.

The Crystal Palace building was built in 1891. But the only area of it that was constructed in the Victorian era is the ground floor facing Monarch Street and East Hyman Avenue, said Amy Simon, the city’s historic preservation officer.

Hunt’s application seeks to increase the height of a portion of the Crystal Palace building from 29 feet, 6 inches to 38 feet, with the possibility of 40 feet through a commercial-design review.

Among Hunt’s plans for the space are 16 rooms on the upper floors and a 4,950-square-foot restaurant and kitchen on the ground-floor level. The lower level calls for a fitness center, restrooms, locker areas and a guest lounge.

Fourteen of the guest rooms would be on the building’s second floor, averaging nearly 500 square feet, and two suites would be located on a proposed third floor that also would include an outdoor pool, cabana and service bar.

The application applies to both the two-level Crystal Palace building, located at 300 E. Hyman Ave., and the one-story building next door at 312 E. Hyman Ave., which was constructed in 1970. Both structures, which are located in the Historic Commercial Core Zone District on a 12,000-square-foot lot, are connected and combine for 13,361 square feet of net leasable space.

The Historic Preservation Commission also approved Hunt’s proposal to demolish the 312 E. Hyman Ave. space. That will now be in the council’s hands.

Councilman Art Daily said he wondered “about the practical reality. …. We’ve got 16 new lodge rooms, but no parking.”

Simon said that the creation of additional parking spaces by Hunt is not required for the project because it would revert to the building’s original footprint.

With City Council’s approval, the boutique, luxury lodge would be Hunt’s second inn to be built in Aspen. He also has approval to build another lodge on east Cooper Avenue where the Buckhorn Arms Building is located.