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New life for Lodge at Aspen Mountain

Courtesy Centurion PartnersTOP: A new Lodge at Aspen Mountain proposal that breaks up the mass and scale between the condominium portion of the property and the hotel.
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ASPEN ” The controversial Lodge at Aspen Mountain is being proposed once again, this time as smaller and more affordable.

Developer John Sarpa, a principal of Centurion Partners, unveiled the new hotel and residence property last week to a group of about 40 people, most of whom are the project’s biggest critics.

Sarpa and his development team have been reworking the proposal for the past few months. The council voted in January to send the development proposal to Aspen voters, but then pulled the May ballot measure so developers could regroup.

Starting anew has resulted in two different concepts that include a reduction of mass and scale, and eight affordable hotel rooms that will be priced 25 to 30 percent lower than whatever is the property’s least expensive accommodation.

Instead of a 175,000-square-foot condominium hotel, the new proposed development would be about 10 percent smaller, or 160,000 square feet. The entire building has been broken up with varying facades, designs and rooflines.

The first proposal, called “2 Gap,” includes a 65- to 70-foot swath between the residence portion of the building and the hotel. The open area includes a glass lobby.

The second concept, “3 Gap,” breaks up the building with 35 feet of open air on each side of the hotel, which connects to the residence portion on the south end, near the base of Aspen Mountain’s west side. The project is proposed on South Aspen Street in the Lift 1A neighborhood.

Both concepts attempt to make the property look like separate buildings, each between 40,000 and 50,000 square feet.

Instead of 75 hotel rooms, there would 74. Standard rooms have gone down in size from 500 square feet to 450 square feet, and instead of 26 fractional units, there would be 22. The units have been reduced in size from 3,000 square feet to 2,800 square feet. The only portion that has increased is the number of the whole-ownership units, which have jumped from five to seven. However, their square footage has dropped from 4,000 to 3,700 square feet.

“Everything has gotten smaller,” Sarpa said.

The exception to that is Centurion is still proposing to provide affordable housing for 100 percent of its employees; 56 units would be on site. The height of the buildings also remain the same ” 59 feet at the tallest, which is set back from the street. Most of the rest of the buildings are below 42 feet in height.

Centurion Partners reduced the size of the proposed property by eliminating 73 underground parking spaces, which each cost between $75,000 and $80,000 to build. The former proposal included 256 spaces but they’ve been reduced to 183. Instead of 80 paid public parking spaces, there would be 30. Another 23 spaces also have been eliminated.

Sarpa’s proposal had been connected with Bob Daniel, chief operating officer of Roaring Fork Lodging Co., who had proposed a 130,000-square-foot membership lodge called the Lift One Lodge across the street from the Lodge at Aspen Mountain, partly at the old Holland House site at the base of Lift 1A.

A host of community amenities like a surface chairlift at Dean Street, a ski museum, public ski lockers and a new 1A chairlift were part of the combined proposal ” the result of six months of work by a citizen task force known as the Lift One COWOP. The City Council charged the 26-member group with creating and recommending a master plan for the area to the council.

Whether Daniel and Sarpa will file separate development proposals or remain together is unknown. Daniel and Sarpa plan to meet with community development director Chris Bendon on Friday to discuss how to proceed.

The Lodge at Aspen Mountain, first submitted in July 2003, was shot down by the council in 2007, and Daniel pulled his application to be part of the COWOP.

Sarpa said his proposal includes a snowmelted South Aspen Street, as well as a $4 million contribution toward a new 1A chairlift and public ski lockers that will be available for seasonal rental.

Sarpa has scheduled a community meeting for June 10, when he will provide details of the proposal to the public. The meeting will be held at the Limelight Lodge from noon to 2 p.m. The amended proposal will likely be reviewed in front of a newly sworn-in City Council in July.

csack@aspentimes.com


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