Molly Gibson Lodge wins council approval |

Molly Gibson Lodge wins council approval

This rendering shows the Molly Gibson Lodge design that won Aspen City Council approval Monday.

Plans to tear down the Molly Gibson Lodge, which include the addition of 15 lodge units and two single-family homes, won 5-0 Aspen City Council approval Monday.

The new lodge is proposed to boost the number of rooms from 53 to 68 and add 8,000 square feet of free-market residential area along Hopkins Avenue. Plans also include one affordable housing unit.

Variances the council granted Monday include allowable floor area for the Hopkins Avenue homes: Combined, they are proposed at 8,000 square feet, where 4,080 square feet is allowed in the residential-6 zone. For the Main Street structure, the council granted a cumulative floor area variance, with 26,959 square feet proposed and 22,500 allowed. On lodge floor area, 26,300 square feet are proposed and 18,000 square feet are allowed. Plans also include a number of setback variances on both parcels, though the existing structure does not conform to setback requirements, either.

During the application process, co-owner Michael Brown said he and his partner decided to shrink the average room size from 360 square feet to 300 square feet, which contributed to boosting the number of rooms from 64 to 68. Brown said the move also lends itself to making the lodge more “Aspen affordable.”

“We really believe that that size hotel room in our location really lends itself to affordable for Aspen,” Brown said.

Councilman Art Daily praised the proposal’s balance between lodging and residential and said it will benefit the entire town.

Councilman Dwayne Romero thanked Brown for his balanced approach, which conforms to the community, while Councilman Adam Frisch also praised the project as a good mix of lodging and residential.

Councilwoman Ann Mullins said she has never heard such positive feedback from the public on a project, which she added was “well deserved.” She also said the free market included in the proposal is a good example of incentivizing lodge projects.

Mayor Steve Skadron said that based on land-use review guidelines, he could find no reason to object to the proposal.

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