‘Monster’ hotel plan scaled back | AspenTimes.com

‘Monster’ hotel plan scaled back

Janet Urquhart
The proposed Lodge at Aspen Mountain would occupy two parcels along South Aspen Street, split by Juan Street, near the base of Lift 1A.

A revised hotel plan that developers hope will appease neighbors near the base of Aspen Mountain is ready for city review.The Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission shot down conceptual plans for The Lodge at Aspen Mountain last March; neighboring condo owners also roundly panned the “monster” hotel proposed next to their residences.The development team has since met with neighbors at the Timber Ridge, Lift One and Shadow Mountain condominiums, the Holland House and the Juan Street affordable housing complex. They have cut back on the hotel’s size to reduce its impacts on adjacent properties, according to planning consultant Sunny Vann.”Our intent was certainly to be reasonably responsive to what was said,” said John Sarpa, a partner in the project.Sarpa declined to speculate on whether all the neighbors will be satisfied, but said the building has seen “significant changes” in an effort to address their concerns.Vann described the modifications in a revised conceptual application that was submitted to the city’s Community Development office last week.

The project’s total floor area has been reduced about 10 percent – from roughly 204,500 square feet in the original plan to about 185,000 square feet, according to Vann. The number of residences to be sold in fractional shares within the project has been reduced and the units reconfigured. One of four free-market residences is gone. The number of standard hotel rooms has been bumped up slightly, but the larger, executive suites are eliminated in the latest plan.The overall effect of the changes, according to Vann, is a reduction in the mass and height of the buildings adjacent to Lift One and Timber Ridge to the north, the Shadow Mountain Condominiums to the south and the Juan Street affordable housing on the west.For example, the upper two levels of fractional units that bordered the Lift One and Timber Ridge condos have been eliminated; the height of the project on that property line is now about 19 feet, according to the revised application.Where the hotel borders the Juan Street complex, the upper two levels have been removed and the setback from the property line has been increased from 10 feet to 25 feet.The uppermost free-market residence next to the Shadow Mountain Condominiums has been relocated, reducing the hotel from four to three stories adjacent to those condos.The hotel is slated for about 2.4 acres between South Aspen and South Garmisch streets. Juan Street splits the property, but a bridge containing part of the hotel – reduced from three stories to two – would span the gap. An existing single-family residence and the 18-unit Mine Dump Apartments would be razed to accommodate the project.The latest plans for the hotel call for 82 standard hotel units (up from 76), 23 fractional units (down from 29), three free-market residences (instead of four) and 12 affordable units for workers (unchanged from the prior plan). Other amenities, including a ballroom, meeting room and restaurant, are retained in the latest proposal.

Along with the hotel, the developers have offered to replace the old, slow Lift 1A with a high-speed double chair to serve that side of the mountain’s base.The Lift 1A neighborhood along South Aspen Street was the original portal to the ski area. The Holland House and Skier’s Chalet across the street from the proposed hotel are among the town’s oldest remaining ski lodges.Developers of the proposed hotel, Aspen Land Fund II, LLC, include some of the same players in another major hotel project slated for the base of the mountain – The Residences at Little Nell. That slopeside, luxury hotel, including 24 suites to be sold in fractional shares, eight standard lodging units and two free-market residences, has already won final city approval. It will rise from Dean Street up the lower slopes of Little Nell on skier’s left, opposite the gondola.Sarpa, the new spokesman for The Lodge at Aspen Mountain, is a partner in Centurion Partners Real Estate, which is now the managing partner for Aspen Land Fund II.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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