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Old apartments on market

Janet Urquhart
The Park Avenue Apartments, an east-side enclave for more than 40 years, are for sale. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.
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One of Aspen’s last old apartment complexes, where workers can still afford to rent digs on the free market, has gone on the market for $6.9 million.Tenants at the Park Avenue Apartments don’t need to worry about losing their homes anytime soon, though, stressed John Werning, one of the owners of the building and the broker who has listed the property.”I care about them all too much,” he said. “I’ve been watching over that place for 30 years. It’s a part of me.”We’re just putting out feelers to see if anyone would be interested,” Werning said. “My partners just wanted to see if there’s a market for it.”

The collection of buildings at the bottom of Park Circle on Aspen’s east side was built in 1962.”It’s a pretty funky place. I’d say it was built in about four different weekends,” joked Werning, who used to live there himself.There are about 20 people living in the apartments, he estimated. The property is being advertised as a redevelopment opportunity, but tenants would receive ample notice if anything were to happen there, Werning said.If a new owner wanted to raze the building and construct something else, half of the existing bedrooms and square footage of the existing apartments would have to be replaced with affordable housing under the city’s land-use rules, according to Chris Bendon, a city planner.

However, new regulations adopted by the City Council early this year would allow an owner to demolish the apartments and build new units, of up to the same square footage and the same configuration of bedrooms, without providing affordable housing.Under that scenario, the apartments could be replaced with far pricier condos that probably would not serve the same stratum of local worker.”On this particular property, I don’t think that would happen,” Werning said. There’s the potential to build additional square footage on the parcel, which would trigger a requirement to provide worker housing, he said.

The listing for the property boasts its views of Aspen Mountain, Mount Sopris, Red Mountain, Smuggler Mountain and Independence Pass.The listing notes the parcel is an “incredible investment opportunity. Neighborhood in the process of extensive, high-end development.”Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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