Razing hotel hits sour note in music scene | AspenTimes.com

Razing hotel hits sour note in music scene

Sarah S. Chung

When the Grand Aspen Hotel meets a wrecking ball this fall, therumble will be felt throughout the town’s music scene.That’s because the musicians who come here often stay there.Providing accommodations for bands is often up to local nightclubs.In fact, it’s essential to lure better-known names to play here,say local promoters, who put bands up at the Grand Aspen. Whenthe hotel is gone, audiences and presenters alike may feel theconsequences.”The Grand Aspen’s a great, valuable tool since it’s able to offerdiscount rates,” said Paul Levine, manager of the Howling Wolf.”It will definitely make it harder to bring high-quality actsinto town,” said Levine, who books the hotel up to 20 nights amonth for acts that play the Wolf.”We do at times use the Grand Aspen to lodge entertainers andcrew,” said Karen Smith of the Double Diamond. “Losing the onlymoderately priced hotel of this size will certainly impact ourbusiness. It could mean higher ticket prices and it could affectour bookings. “I would love to house our bands and crew at a small local lodge,but that’s simply unaffordable,” Smith said.The latest redevelopment plan for the Grand Aspen calls for a150-room hotel that would be “slightly more expensive.” But whetheror not the new hotel will be able to make comparable arrangementswith area businesses is unknown.”The key is size,” said John Sarpa, investment adviser for theproperty’s owner, Savanah Limited Partnership. “If there are morerooms to spread costs across, we can keep rates down. Of coursethey won’t be exactly Grand Aspen rates, but the idea will behonored.”And it’s not only performers who depend on Grand Aspen rates.According to Sarpa, razing the hotel could mean dissuading hundredsof budget-conscious visitors from picking Aspen as a destination.That could result in a loss of millions of dollars in spendingin a ski season, he suggested. The impact of losing 150 moderately priced hotel rooms is a onethat cannot be stressed enough, agreed Bill Tomcich, presidentof Aspen Central Reservations.”At this point I can’t say for sure whether the loss will be sixor seven figures, but either way we’re talking about an enormousimpact,” Tomcich said. “When the realization hit of the impact of losing the second largesthotel in Aspen – what kind of clientele and market would be lost- we did some rethinking,” said Sarpa. Savanah scrapped its planfor 47 townhomes at the site and proposed the new hotel instead,he said.

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