Skico buys two Aspen Business Center buildings
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
ASPEN ” The recent purchase of two buildings by the Aspen Skiing Co. could make the future of a handful of businesses less certain.
Among the affected businesses is Pitco Total Automotive, which has been at its building at the Aspen Business Center for 29 years. Another business, Bishop Plumbing and Heating, has occupied a nearby building since it was built, “in either 1979 or 1981,” according to co-owner Kristin Davis.
Late in 2008, the Skico bought one ABC building from John McBride for $5 million, along with a nearby building previously owned by Verena Bishop, for around $2 million (the land it sits on is still owned by McBride, according to Skico Senior Vice President Dave Bellack).
With plans to develop the base of Buttermilk Ski Area, Skico wants to eventually move some of its Buttermilk operations into the new buildings. Before any development at the base of Buttermilk begins, the company plans to relocate its vehicle maintenance facilities, which presently take up valuable space.
“It would make more sense not to have a ski-in, ski-out garage,” Bellack said.
Bellack also said Skico hopes to use the new ABC buildings to house its information technology department, currently housed mainly in Snowmass Village and other rental spaces not ideally suited for modern IT.
Bellack said it’s likely the upstairs apartments will eventually be used for employee housing. They currently are filled with a mix of Skico employees and residents who held leases before Skico bought the building.
Although no lease currently extends beyond the summer of 2010 (and some end before then), Bellack said Skico might continue to rent to some tenants beyond the summer of 2010 “to the extent that we don’t use the space.”
At first, Skico told businesses renting space at the ABC that they would need to move by this summer. Later, it extended leases until the summer of 2010, at the latest.
“In studying what was involved in [moving in] further, we realized we needed more time to plan and do things in an orderly way,” Bellack said.
At Pitco Total Automotive, owner John Guenther said he is looking for a new location. Nearby, Mike Vanica, the owner of Mike’s Transmission, which has been at its current location for 17 years, said he hasn’t decided what to do when his lease expires. Now that he has until the summer of 2010, he’s taken on a wait-and-see mentality.
Vanica added that it is much more difficult for him and Guenther to relocate because they own automotive businesses. But Guenther argued for the importance of keeping automotive-repair services in town.
“It would be crazy not to have an auto-service center here,” said Guenther.
Andre Kolobakhine, owner of Super Shine Detailing, which has also been at its current location for 17 years, is also staying for now. He had considered moving ” although it would have resulted in a rent increase ” before Skico approached him to extend his lease until the summer of 2010, he said.
“Everyone has decided to stay and see what happens in a year and a half,” he said, adding that he hopes his lease lasts a few more years.
But in the meantime, with the recent economic downturn, he said he is glad he stayed.
“At least I’m happy I didn’t move to another building where rent was 40 percent more than here,” he said.
Bishop Plumbing and Heating’s Davis also said she hopes the company can stay in the building.
“However, it just all depends on Skico,” she noted.
Dan Bullock, owner of Independence Press ” which recently moved within the ABC when a better opportunity presented itself ” spoke of the community that had developed in his building over the many years the residents and businesses coexisted.
“The residents were watching out for us, and we were watching out for the residents,” he said. “One of the fellas had an apartment there for 14 years. You know, so you get to know everybody.”
And while he acknowledged that Skico had brought changes to the buildings, he was open to the possibility of developing a new community. When Independence Press moved into its new ABC building, he said, the caterer next door brought over a lamb stew to welcome them.
“Who knows what will happen?” he said.
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