New pizza place expected to open in Aspen
October 3, 2012
ASPEN – Aspen already is home to four restaurants specializing in pizza, but it is expected to gain another one soon.
A lease agreement is in the works for the below-street-level space in the Bidwell Building most recently occupied by the Hunter Bar. The downtown eatery would be a full-service casual pizza restaurant and bar.
Karen Setterfield, a commercial real estate specialist who is the listing broker for the building’s owner, Bert Bidwell Investment Corp., declined to name the tenant because the deal has yet to be finalized. A source close to the deal says the new tenant will be a restaurateur who already has significant experience with pizza operations in the Aspen area. Other details, such as the length of the lease, were not available.
Setterfield said more information might be forthcoming later this week when the lease is finalized.
She added that the Bidwell Building at the corner of the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall and South Galena Street is under contract to a prospective buyer. The listing price was $27 million, but Setterfield would not disclose the final terms of that purchase, which closes in December. At 16,950 square feet, the two-story building with subgrade space also is known as the Mountain Plaza Building. It’s currently the home of retailer Kemo Sabe and other businesses.
Earlier this year, Charles Cunniffe Architects, on behalf of the new buyer, submitted to the city of Aspen an application for its redevelopment. That project has yet to wind its way through the public process. While previous redevelopment plans for the 47-year-old building called for adding an extra story, the new project only involves two stories and does not ask permission for residential space.
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The underground space for the new pizza restaurant and bar totals 3,587 square feet, a figure that does not include the outdoor patio. Hunter Bar owner Gonzo Mirich, who vacated the property at the end of August, said one reason he was shutting down the venue was the inability to afford it. The leasing rate amounted to $10,000 per month plus other costs, including taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.
Many tenants have occupied the space over the past few decades, including Pinocchio’s pizzeria, Gracie’s consignment shop, the restaurant/nightclub known as NXT, the nightclubs Hannibal Brown’s and the Howling Wolf, and the Flying Dog Brew Pub. Local rug purveyor Noori’s Collection also has used the space.
Existing pizza operations in Aspen include Dominos, a delivery chain; Taster’s, located next door to the Rio Grande Parking Garage; Brunelleschi’s, a more upscale operation with table service in the Mill Street Plaza; and New York Pizza, which has been located in the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall for more than 20 years.