New sites under review for displaced firms
Officials with the Obermeyer Redevelopment Co. will meet with the Aspen City Council on Monday to review a lease to use the citys Zupancis property on Main Street, as well as the recycling center property on Rio Grande Place, as a temporary home for about a dozen small businesses.Those businesses are now operating along Rio Grande Place and Bleeker Street, where the two-year construction of Obermeyer Place is slated to begin this spring.The Zupancis site, dubbed the Hunter & Main Small Business Park, is expected to provide a temporary home for 10 small businesses, while two others are slated to operate at the recycling site next to Rio Grande Park. The council is being asked to approve the lease arrangements.In addition, two businesses are to be located downtown and two others will go to the Aspen Business Center while construction is under way.We understand that moving a business can be a difficult process, but were equally certain that the final outcome of a redeveloped site will be a great benefit to these businesses and the community as a whole, said Tim Belinski, manager of Obermeyer Redevelopment Co. in a press release. At the same time, were working to make this transition as smooth as possible.Obermeyer Redevelopment Co. will be transporting modular structures to the two sites, as well as providing utilities and parking spaces to meet city codes. The existing home at the Zupancis property will also be used by commercial tenants.Obermeyer has also committed to maintaining rents at their current levels through the temporary relocation period, and has committed to one month of rent-free operation this April in order to defray relocation costs. By spring 2006, rents for the Obermeyer tenants will have been frozen for three years.In addition, Obermeyer will fund an advertising campaign to make the public aware of where the relocated businesses have gone.The lease with the city, the lease of the modular structures, the cost of installing the utilities and the advertising campaign will substantially outweigh the rental income from the tenants during the two-year period, according to Belinski.The current plan calls for the following businesses to relocate to the Zupancis site: Aspen Painting, Aspen Custom Glass & Showers, Alternative Interiors, Red Canyon Auto Bodys offices, H&R Block, Goldberg & Goldberg Accounting, Schmueser Gordon Meyer, Regan Management Services, Best Friends (a pet-grooming service) and the Power Shade Model Shop. The businesses relocating to the recycling center area are the Ski Service Center and Board Werks, and Hayles Framing. The recycling operation will continue there.Two other businesses the Bleeker Street Gym and Main Street Quick Print and Copy Service will be relocating to a downtown site, pending the signing of lease. Rocky Mountain Martial Arts and Aspen Branch, a floral service, will go to the Aspen Business Center. Relocation options for Auto Tech, Belinski said, are still being explored.Its possible that some businesses may shift from one temporary location to another before the final plan is in place, he added.Construction activity at Obermeyer Place is expected to begin in April. The redevelopment project will include at least 38,000 square feet of service/commercial space to replace what exists in the neighborhood now, according to the developers. About 8,000 square feet of the existing service/commercial space is not currently leased; Obermeyer Redevelopment Co. will be negotiating to bring several new such businesses to Obermeyer Place. The development will also include about 9,000 square feet of medical office space as part of an agreement with Aspen Valley Hospital, and 850 square feet of neighborhood commercial space.The project also includes underground parking for business and residential users, and for the city of Aspen; pedestrian walkways and links between Main Street and Rio Grande Park; 21 deed-restricted affordable housing units and 21 free-market units.
On Monday night, the City Council listened to ideas for each old building. However, nothing laid out what the community space would actually entail — only aspirations and gathered community comment.