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Savanah submits final hotel plans

Janet Urquhart

Demolition of the vacant Grand Aspen Hotel is scheduled to begin as soon as the ski season ends, marking the start of a project that will transform the base of Aspen Mountain.

Savanah Limited Partnership, which owns the hotel site and about 5.5 acres at the base of the ski area, submitted its final application Wednesday for the last pieces of a complex development collectively known as the Aspen Mountain PUD.

The project will include development of a new 150-unit, moderately priced hotel to replace the Grand Aspen on Dean Street and 13 luxury residences and four affordable housing units at the top of South Mill Street at the base of the mountain. The development also requires redevelopment of the Bavarian Inn at the west end of Main Street for affordable housing.

The hotel demolition is scheduled to begin April 16, 2001 and be completed by July 31, 2001.

The Bavarian project must be completed before the hotel. It will house 44 workers, according to Savanah’s plans.

The former lodge is already used to house workers by Savanah. The property, consisting of two parcels between Main and Bleeker streets split by an alleyway, contains 20 units in all.

The remodeled lodge will contain eight units. A duplex is also proposed on the parcel. Across the alley, four townhomes in one building and one flat and four townhomes in another building are proposed.

Under the terms of a compromise the City Council struck with Savanah when it approved the conceptual PUD a year ago, the expanded Bavarian will house 13 Savanah employees; the rest of the bedrooms will be open to the general work force.

The remaining 28 employees the new hotel is expected to employ will be housed at the hotel.

The hotel plan calls for 125 standard rooms and 25 suites. The facility will also contain 5,630 square feet of meeting space, along with restaurant and bar space and 117 spaces of underground parking, according to the submitted plans.

The residential development, on what has been dubbed the Top of Mill site, will be situated between the ski runs that extend down to the lower terminuses of Lift 1A and the Little Nell Lift. The private land is not part of the ski area.

The plans call for six free-market townhomes, each with four bedrooms and about 4,500 square feet of living space; four affordable units, including three three-bedroom units of 1,500 square feet and one four-bedroom unit of 1,700 square feet; and one free-market duplex. Each duplex unit will have four bedrooms and about 4,500 square feet of living space.

Tucked into the base of the mountain on the uppermost part of the property will be five free-market, single-family homes. Each will have five bedrooms and range in size from 5,200 to 6,500 square feet, according to the plan.

The free-market homes will each include a caretaker unit or generate a cash payment in lieu of housing, according to the plan.

Savanah is proposing to construct and then sell the Top of Mill residences.

The Aspen Mountain PUD, which originally encompassed about 12 acres subdivided into five lots, first came to the city in 1983 under former owner John Roberts. Savanah, based in California, acquired the properties in 1987, after foreclosure proceedings were initiated against Roberts, according to documents submitted with the plans.

Much of the PUD has already been developed. The former Ritz-Carlton hotel, now the St. Regis, was completed by Savanah in late 1992 and has since been sold.

Savanah completed the four-unit Galena Place condo project in 1990 and sold another parcel within the PUD in 1992. It has since been developed with the three-unit Summit Place condo project.

Savanah also built the Silver Circle Ice Rink, across Dean Street from the Grand Aspen, as part of the project.

The Top of Mill and Grand Aspen properties have been up for sale and are under contract to an undisclosed buyer, according to Savanah spokesman John Sarpa. Meanwhile, Savanah has continued to pursue final approvals for development of the parcels.


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