Owners plan to replace Mountain House Lodge in Aspen with two homes
The Aspen Times
Aspen’s Mountain House Lodge may be replaced by two single-family homes soon.
MarMax Haytel LLC — the entity that owns the 26-room lodge located at 905 E. Hopkins Ave. — is aligned with HayMax Capital LLC, which is controlled by Michael and Aaron Brown, owners of the Hotel Aspen and Molly Gibson Lodge. In its application to the city, MarMax proposes to divide the 12,000-square-foot lot into two 6,000-square-foot lots, with the intention of building two single-family homes.
In December, when the Browns took possession of the bankrupt lodge, Michael Brown said in a prepared statement that any redevelopment plans would hinge on the city’s writing of its lodge-incentive program. As local hotel operators, Brown said he and his brother did consider maintaining the Mountain House Lodge. But that option is at the bottom of the list, he said, because the direction of the incentive program does not justify it.
“I’ve gotten a good look at what they’re proposing, and it isn’t even close. It’s not even enough to get me to wait,” he said.
If the split is approved — which city staff has recommended that the Aspen City Council do at its regular meeting Monday — the Mountain House Lodge will have to be removed no later than 180 days after approval. However, Stan Clauson, representing the Browns, said an extension for demolition beyond the 180 days might be necessary, given the requirement for an environmental- impact study.
The property is currently zoned residential multi-family, with a lodge preservation overlay. The applicant does not intend to rezone the property at this time, a memorandum to the council states. Residential multi-family zoning requires a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet and a minimum lot width of 60 feet, which the project conforms to.
The application is up for the first reading portion of the council meeting, with the next step being a public hearing.
MarMax came into possession of the Aspen bed-and-breakfast in December after Mountain House Partners LLC, the entity that owned the property, filed for bankruptcy. Mountain House Partners LLC avoided foreclosure in March 2013 by filing for bankruptcy protection in Denver, listing $4.16 million in assets and $7.9 million in liabilities.
MarMax took possession of the loan note, and terms of the deal are detailed in bankruptcy papers filed in November. In a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy, Mountain House Partners says that it planned to convey the property to MarMax in lieu of foreclosure. MarMax also agreed to waive any debts owed on the loan note, along with paying $150,000 to Mountain House Lodge and another $25,000 for unsecured claims.
Nearly three years after Aspen City Council cleared the founder of Jazz Aspen Snowmass to launch a jazz performance and education center downtown, Jim Horowitz said he expects the project will get rolling before the year is over.
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