Aspen Club has more than $21 million in liens piling up

PCL Construction Services have haulted their efforts on the Aspen Club, a high-profile construction project due to finance restructuring.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Club has until end of October or city could step in

 If construction doesn’t resume on the Aspen Club after 60 days of the stoppage, the city could tap into a $100,000 escrow account to spruce up the site while ensuring that it has no safety hazards.

Work on the Aspen Club was suspended at the end of August, and the city is keeping an eye on whether it will be restructure its financing in order to resume the work.

“They’re not behind closed doors or anything, and they’re keeping us apprised of the process,” said the city’s Jessica Garrow, who oversees the Community Development Department.

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The general contractor overseeing the redevelopment of the Aspen Club, a high-profile construction project on hold due to finance restructuring, filed a lien Tuesday claiming it is owed $17.7 million for its services.

PCL Construction Services’ mechanic’s lien, which was entered in the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, was the ninth filed against the Aspen Club since it halted construction in August.

As general contractor, PCL is responsible for paying off its subcontractors on the job.

PCL Vice President Mark Harms said from the Alberta, Canada-based firm’s Denver office the lien was filed simply to protect the company’s rights.

“We’ve been working with (Aspen Club) on a number of solutions to get started back up, and basically we’re waiting on direction from them,” he said. “It’s in Aspen Club’s court to give us direction.”

Since Sept. 12, eight subcontractors have filed mechanics’ liens against both PCL and the Aspen Club. Among the subs filing liens is Basalt-based Meyers & Co. Architectural Metals, which claims it is owed $1.53 million for labor and materials.

Tracy Forristall, the chief financial officer for Meyers & Co., said Tuesday the firm won’t resume work on the Aspen Club until it is made whole.

“We’ve been in contact with (Aspen Club and PCL), and we think it’s a great project and the financing will work out,” she said.

Forristall said her confidence that construction will resume is in part “because the economy is good, it’s a great project, and I think it’s a hiccup in the project right now.”

The lien was filed, she said, because “that’s just part of the business you do to protect yourself.”

Harms said, “Everyone that files a mechanic’s lien is protecting their legal rights, and now we’re in a wait-and-see mode.”

Michael Fox, who has owned the Aspen Club since 1996, was traveling this week and could not be reached by telephone. He did, however, offer a set of short responses to emailed questions from The Aspen Times, offering that the debts would be paid off once the project’s revised financial model is in place.

“We are in the process of obtaining refinancing,” he wrote. “Because of confidentiality with our lenders, I can’t say much more.”

Data at the Clerk and Recorder’s Office show some of the project lenders include FirstBank, which provided a $45 million loan in May 2016; InvestAmerica Aspen Club, which loaned the club $32 million in September 2015; and Revere High Yield Fund, which has a $12 million loan to the club dating to June 2015.

Other lienholders include Western States Fire Protection Co. ($170,493) of Centennial; Denver-based Martin-Ray Laundry Systems ($21,101); Orion Environmental Inc. ($63,278) of Commerce City; New Castle-based PSI Crane & Rigging Inc. ($302,822); Gould Construction ($1.7 million) of Glenwood Springs; IMI Inc. ($167,215) of Littleton; and Insulvail ($102,942) of Gypsum. Both IMI and Insulvail filed their liens near the end of Tuesday’s business day.

The combined amount in lien claims totals more than $21.7 million. Fox said those debts would be satisfied.

“These will be paid off as part of our refinancing, if not sooner,” he wrote.

Construction began on the redevelopment in January 2016, with temporary closures in different parts of the club allowing it to stay open until April 2016. It has been closed since then because of construction work, while members of the health club have used reciprocal benefits at other establishments in the Aspen area.

The project has city approval for a remodeled 40,000-square-foot Aspen Club & Spa building. Also included is a 54,000-square-foot lodge with 20 timeshares, which comprises 36,000 square feet of townhouse units and 18,000 square feet of club units. Another 13,600 square feet of development would account for 12 multi-family affordable-housing units.

Construction initially had been billed to be finished in November.