New Little Nell hotel OK’d
After ensuring public access to the après-ski scene on a new outdoor terrace overlooking the base of Little Nell, the City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to give final approval to a luxury timeshare hotel that will transform the base of Aspen Mountain.The Residences at Little Nell, a fractional-ownership project that will rise from Dean Street up the lower slopes of Little Nell at skier’s left, won its final nod from the council with little debate.Concerns about the height of the building and public access to its terrace, bar and restaurant – topics at a public hearing last month – were quickly put to rest.The developers, Aspen Land Fund LLC, satisfied the council that the final plans for the hotel didn’t deviate substantially in height from the project that received conceptual approval last year. The building steps up the ski slope; its facade along Dean Street will rise about 37 feet, said architect Bill Poss.The hotel’s restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace will be open to the general public throughout the ski season for at least three hours after the nearby gondola closes each day. In addition, those amenities will be open to the public from June 15 through Oct. 15, during the hours that the gondola is operating, according to provisions of the project approval.”I hope it brings back all the vitality … which we’ve known to exist in the past,” said Mayor Helen Klanderud.Only Councilman Terry Paulson voted against approving the project, though he praised the plans as a “significant improvement” over the original proposal.”I feel it’s going to create a canyon effect at the base of the mountain,” Paulson said. “Some people would call it a Highlands effect, where you can’t see the mountain anymore.”Kim Konsoer, who owns a North of Nell unit with her husband, said she supports the project even though her condo will look out at the new hotel. It will replace the decrepit Tipple Inn, she noted.”This is the city’s chance to rid our beautiful town of probably the ugliest building in Aspen,” she said.The Tipple Inn, old Tippler nightclub, Tipple Lodge and a single-family residence are all being razed to make way for the new hotel, which will include 24 suites to be sold in fractional shares. The hotel will also include eight standard lodging units, two free-market residences and eight studio units for employees, as well as commercial space.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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