Mountain Forge project kicked back to P&Z
The proposed remodel of the Mountain Forge building will go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for further review after members of the Aspen City Council expressed reservations about the project at their Monday meeting.
Council members, in a follow-up look at Planing and Zoning Commission’s 6-1 decision in favor of the project’s growth management and conceptual commercial design reviews, saw three primary factors that fueled their decision.
Among them were making the site more pedestrian friendly on the Monarch Avenue side of the project, reduce or break up the mass of the second floor and create symmetrical gables as opposed to the asymmetrical ones approved by the commission July 19.
“I think there’s room for improvement,” Councilwoman Ann Mullins said. “I push it because we have fewer places downtown to be built and remodeled and every (project) needs to be exceptional and fit well on site.”
Councilman Bert Myrin also suggested creating setbacks on the second floor to reduce the amount of space there.
Myrin also voiced concerns that the residential and commercial project is a short distance from restaurant row, where noise had led to police reports and litigation from a family that owns a penthouse on the 300 block of East Hopkins Avenue.
The two-level Mountain Forge remodel calls for two 2,333-square-foot free-market units, one affordable-housing unit and 4,822 square feet of commercial space.
The land-use application for the Mountain Forge building, located 230 E. Hopkins Ave., was filed one week before City Council passed an emergency freeze on development in Aspen’s commercial, service-commercial-industrial, neighborhood commercial and mixed-zone districts. Passed in March, the moratorium expires at the end of February.
Mountain Forge LLC, led by Aspen developer Bill Boehringer, bought the building for $8.5 million in July from co-owners Monarch LLC and Hopkins LLC.
The Mountain Forge building was erected in 1963 and underwent a major remodel in the 1980s. It once was the studio of famed Aspen blacksmith Francis Whitaker. It currently houses the Compass real estate firm, Vann Associates planning firm, Rowland+Broughton design firm, Skin Therapy Clinic and a 792-square-foot employee-housing unit.
Nearly eight parking spaces are required for the development. Plans call for a two-vehicle garage on site, with the remaining spaces satisfied by a cash-in-lieu payment to the city.
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