Obermeyer attracts interest | AspenTimes.com

Obermeyer attracts interest

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Fifty prospective buyers are lined up to purchase 18 free-market condos at Obermeyer Place ” a level of interest that elicits a sigh of relief from developers who are depending on presale of the units to make the project happen.

The $55 million redevelopment of a funky corner of old Aspen is slated to start construction this spring.

“A reservation is a far cry from a contract,” conceded Dwayne Romero, director of development for Obermeyer Place. Still, he said, it’s an encouraging sign.

“We’re just feeling like we’re on the way,” added Tim Belinski, manager of Obermeyer Redevelopment Co. “Things have been well received.”

Starting March 22, the 50 interested buyers who have paid a refundable deposit for a reservation will be asked to put the unit of their choice under contract with a 10 percent down payment, according to Romero. A random drawing held last week determined the order in which buyers will be offered units.

One two-bedroom condo is available; the rest contain three or four bedrooms. Sizes range from about 2,000 square feet to 3,720 square feet, with prices from $1.75 million to $3.87 million.

Those who follow through with a purchase next month will get a 3 percent discount on the price and a free upgrade to a two-car enclosed garage within the underground parking structure, instead of one assigned space in the subgrade garage.

They will become residents, or second-home owners, within a complex of new buildings that are slated to house a diverse neighborhood of service and commercial shops, medical offices and a combination of free-market and worker housing. A collection of existing buildings bounded by Spring Street, Rio Grande Place and East Bleeker Street will be razed to make way for the new development.

Prospective condo buyers have all been made aware of the unique nature of the complex ” that their neighbors will include a ski-tuning shop, auto mechanics and the like, Belinski said.

“If you aren’t jazzed by that idea, you’re probably in the wrong place,” he said.

Those who have taken reservations seem to like the concept, Romero said. The interested buyers include perhaps a half dozen, full-time local residents and a mix of people from out-of-state. Various local real estate brokers are working with the group.

“There’s the typical market representation that you would expect ” a slice of Texas, a bit of Southern California, a few from the Midwest … most are loyalists to Aspen,” according to Romero. “They’re already coming here.”

Obermeyer Place includes 21 free-market condos, but three will go to the trio of landowners whose parcels are part of the redevelopment project, spearheaded by majority property owner Klaus Obermeyer, founder of Sport Obermeyer.

In addition, 21 deed-restricted units will be constructed. They will go to local workers who qualify to own housing under the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority guidelines, but the developers have the ability to offer the units to individuals of their choosing. Six of the affordable units will be sold at the cost of their construction, which has not yet been determined.

Fifteen units will be sold at Category 2 and 3 prices, established by the Housing Authority, through a deal worked out with the developers of The Residences at Little Nell hotel project.

The City Council agreed the hotel could meet some of its own worker housing obligations by “buying down” some of the Obermeyer units ” essentially subsidizing their construction and reducing the sale price for the eventual buyers.

“What we’re really excited about is it really does provide a mix of people in the neighborhood,” Belinski said.

Some of the deed-restricted units are likely to be offered to Sport Obermeyer employees and business owners who have their shops in the complex, Romero added.

A few dozen people have expressed interest in the deed-restricted condos, according to Belinski. The buyers won’t be chosen until the project is closer to completion ” sometime in the first half of 2006.

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