Misled by Isis employee housing
I am writing to you regarding the nonrenewal of the Isis tenants’ lease. As one of the tenants whose lease will not be renewed, I find this situation very disheartening.
I feel that I have been involved in another example of lack of integrity and trustworthiness of the city of Aspen. The explanation of the nonrenewal of our lease is that the city is providing housing for an “essential employee.” I am not quite sure what the definition of an essential employee is, but apparently it is not any of us.
I am acutely aware of how difficult it can be to find housing in Aspen, and the entire valley for that matter. I do not question the city employee’s need for housing. I do question if not renewing the lease of three other qualified employees is the best way to meet the city’s housing needs for its employees. The city’s resources far surpass the resources of an individual or group of individuals.
When the idea of buying the Isis was presented to City Council, it was stated that employee housing would not be affected. This has not been the case. Although new retail was created in the Isis building, no new employee housing was developed. While the public was aware that Aspen Filmfest was given one apartment, many are not aware that this apartment was handed over to Courtney Lord and was leased to individuals associated with the Peter Lik gallery. I find that the city of Aspen/Isis Retail Group was not clear in their intentions of the use of the employee housing units above the Isis. I believe that the city could have approached this situation in a much more professional manner and worked with the tenants of the Isis, rather than against them.
I realize that there is a great deal of information that I am not privy to, and some of my assumptions may not be correct. I have written this letter from the point of view of a tenant that has been given minimal information about the situation and have only my observations to rely on. In the future, if the city looks to buy other buildings, I hope that they will take the tenants of these buildings into consideration when deciding their agenda and what is best for the building and the community of Aspen.
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This summer in Aspen is likely to include indoor and outdoor concerts, maskless gatherings and no state or county-mandated restrictions on social distancing at restaurants or anywhere else.