Skico trying to buy Basalt building | AspenTimes.com

Skico trying to buy Basalt building

Aspen Skiing Co. is negotiating to buy the Riverside Plaza building, lot A, at the intersection of Midland Avenue and Two Rivers Road in Basalt. The building would provide office space.

Aspen Skiing Co. is negotiating to purchase a 27,000-square-foot building in Basalt where it plans to eventually consolidate some of its offices.

Skico plans to complete the purchase by the end of November on the Riverside Plaza building, Lot A, at 255 Gold Rivers Court, at the intersection of Midland Avenue and Two Rivers Road, according to company spokesman Jeff Hanle.

The businesses that lease ground-floor space in the building won't be evicted, Hanle said. Skico will continue to lease space to those businesses, which include Traffic clothing store, Toklat gallery, Community Bank and Burn Fitness.

"It looks like a great opportunity for us," Hanle said. "We're very cramped up here."

The upper two floors of the building that Skico is buying were last occupied by Total Merchant Services, which helped companies set up credit-card machines. The business departed Basalt and consolidated its operations in California in May 2013.

Hanle said not to expect Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan and other senior staff members to start reverse commuting to Basalt. They will stay at Skico's headquarters at the Aspen Business Center rather than try to run the ski areas from Basalt.

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In addition to its headquarters at the Aspen Business Center, Skico has other offices located in "pockets" in Snowmass and Aspen Highlands, Hanle said.

Not all the departments need to be located near the base of the ski areas, he said, and many employees could avoid a commute if they could work closer to where they live.

"It's a place that would be convenient for a lot of our workforce," Hanle said. There also is an opportunity for the new building to have flexible workspace, where employees who live in Basalt and other downvalley locations could occasionally work.

Hanle said Skico officials will examine who could be moved to the new building after the purchase is completed. There is no timeline established for moving them or a targeted number of people to relocate.

"Right now all these plans are very tentative," he said.

Skico had assessed the building several months ago for the potential for a boutique hotel at the request of Basalt town government and civic leaders. It was determined the spot probably wouldn't work that well for accommodations.

Hanle said Skico isn't considering a hotel in the building.

"I don't think that's in the plans at all," he said.

Total Merchant Services occupied the second and third stories of the building at 255 Gold Rivers Court as well as additional space in an adjacent building. The second and third stories are both about 9,000 square feet. The firm employed 140 people in that space, showing the potential for Skico's offices.

The sales price that's being negotiated wasn't disclosed. The seller is 255 Gold Rivers Court Holdings, a company affiliated with CW Capital Asset Management of West Bethesda, Maryland. The company acquired the property for $3.2 million after a foreclosure sale in September 2014.

The owner was trying to lease the upper two floors and had hired Bennett Bramson of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's International Realty to show it.

Bramson said Pitkin County had signed a letter of intent to rent the 9,000 square feet on the third floor. The lease was nixed last week after the owner received a sales offer from Skico.

Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock said the county will keep looking, but he noted he couldn't divulge where for competitive reasons.

"That's not the only alternative we're looking at in Basalt," he said.

There might not be that large of a space available, he said, so the county might have to look at more smaller spaces. The county wants to relocate some of its departments for as long as two years while it remodels and adds to the Courthouse Plaza in Aspen.

Peacock said he would be interested in talking with Skico about its timing of taking some of the office space and if there is an opportunity to lease from it.

scondon@aspentimes.com