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New plans for two old ski lodges

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

New owners of a pair of Aspen’s venerable ski lodges ” the Skiers Chalet and the Innsbruck Inn ” are mulling plans to renovate the properties.

Meanwhile, both lodges remain open and are welcoming guests as usual.

The Innsbruck, located on Main Street, was purchased last month by a group of investors. The lodge sold for $3.2 million, according to documents on file at the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s office.



The lodge had been owned by Innsbruck Holdings Inc., a partnership that included Michael Haisfield and Audrey Haisfield, which bought the Innsbruck from its former longtime owners, Heinz and Karen Coordes, in 2000.

The Innsbruck’s new owners have only begun to explore the options for updating the lodge, according to Remax Premier real estate broker Gwen Dickinson, who handled the transaction and is a partner in the new ownership group.



Meanwhile, developer Greg Hills said he hopes to consult with Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission next month regarding options for significant renovation to one of two buildings that comprise the Skiers Chalet near the base of Lift 1A.

Hills is the managing partner for a group of investors who purchased the Skiers Chalet Steak House building in May 2002. The group also has an option to purchase the second lodge building, currently still owned by Skiers Chalet founder Howard Awrey.

The building containing the Steak House and eight lodge units is designated as historic; the HPC must approve significant exterior changes to the building.

The new owners ultimately expect to gut the interior and rebuild it, Hills said.

“The building is in such poor condition, we just can’t keep it going,” he said.

Hills said he and his partners offered to build new restaurant space for the Steak House, but the restaurant’s owner, Stephen Wright, has opted to close the business when his lease is up in April 2005.

“Since he doesn’t want to stay, we’ll just turn that [space] into more lodge rooms,” Hills said.

Nothing is expected to happen with the building before mid-2005. There are no immediate plans to make any changes to the main lodge building, owned by Awrey.

When the Skiers Chalet is redeveloped, the new units are likely to be sold as condos that will be available for short-term rental by guests, Hills predicted.

“We’re envisioning a condominium lodge, probably similar to what we did at the Christiana,” he said.

The first phase of the Christiana Aspen should be ready for occupants soon. Sixteen new condos were built at the former Main Street site of the old Christiania Lodge and Chalets.

Ten of the units have been presold, according to Hills.

The Christiana is in the city’s lodge preservation zone, which facilitates lodge renovation but requires that lodge units be available for short-term rental at least six months each year. Buyers are made aware that they can’t use their condos for more than half of the year.

Three other buildings remaining from the old Christiania will be razed this year to make way for a second phase, consisting of nine more condos, Hills said.

Hills said he intends to seek the lodge preservation zoning for the Skiers Chalet, as well. It’s appropriate, he said, that the lodge be available for tourist use, given its proximity to the base of Aspen Mountain and the chairlift that accesses the slopes on the Shadow Mountain side of the ski area.

In fact, the lift is slated for replacement with a new, speedier chair in conjunction with a luxury hotel project proposed across South Aspen Street from the Skiers Chalet.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]


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