New ownership, new beginning for Aspen Club

$52 million-plus purchase complete, marks end of saga that included bankruptcy declaration, 3 foreclosure filings, multiple lawsuits and dozens of mechanics' liens

The sale of the Aspen Club & Spa, seen here sitting dormant Wednesday, is official for the new owners who purchased the 5-acre property at auction in January. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The redevelopment project of The Aspen Club & Spa will live on after all, but will its name?

That’s a question the property’s new ownership will be asking soon.

“Depending on our ultimate vision for the club, we will go through a branding exercise to confirm if Aspen Club is the right fit,” said Garrett Simon, partner at Meriwether Cos. “Obviously there is a ton of value in that name today.”

On Wednesday, Meriwether, Revere Capital and Fireside Investments completed their purchase of the 5-acre property after claiming it with the lone bid of $52.59 million at a foreclosure auction held Jan. 6.

The previous owners of The Aspen Club, a group led by Michael Fox, could have reclaimed the property for $53,062,621 during what is known as the redemption period, which expired at noon Wednesday. That did not happen.

For the courts, banks and creditors, the sale marks the end of saga that included a bankruptcy declaration, three foreclosure filings, multiple lawsuits and dozens of mechanics’ liens. For the new ownership, the sale signaled a reboot for a property that started as the Aspen Club in 1977.

“This is an exciting time for the Aspen Club and we are thrilled to partner with Revere Capital and Fireside Investments to acquire and complete the re-development of this legendary asset,” Simon said in a statement issued for release Thursday. “We intend on restoring the Aspen Club to its former role as the center of social and athletic activity within the Aspen community. Our vision involves a focus on family, wellness and meaningful experiences.”

Based in Boulder, Meriwether Cos develops resort and private club projects mainly in the West. Its projects include an unfinished $250 million surf resort in La Quinta, California, and a $100 million hotel and condo redevelopment project at the Squaw Valley ski resort.

They’re taking over an Aspen Club property on the east side of town at 1450 Ute Ave. that started as a tennis and exercise club run by Bob Goldsamt, later gaining celebrity notoriety because of the guests it attracted under the ownership Julie Anthony and Dick Butera, who bought it in 1982.

Fox and investors bought the property in 1996 and gained city approval in 2010 to redevelop the property with 15 townhomes, six condos, affordable housing and a new club and recreation/wellness facility.

With more than 1,000 members, the club closed in February 2016 to make way for the construction project. It came to halt in the fall of 2017 when a lender withdrew its second round of financing of $15 million. As a result, construction firms weren’t paid and left the project unfinished.

Simon said the new ownership wants to get the project going as quickly as possible, and that can only happen once those outstanding debts are cleared this month.

PCL Construction, the project’s original general contractor, has kept the site intact since construction stopped, Simon said.