Sky Hotel redevelopment on Aspen Mountain still on hold | AspenTimes.com

Sky Hotel redevelopment on Aspen Mountain still on hold

A high-profile hotel project at the base of Aspen Mountain has yet to break ground despite the developer's original intentions to get it going in April 2016.

But around this time last year, developers of the slopeside W Aspen hotel said they were delaying construction because it would not be completed in time for the 2016-17 ski season. They also said pushing construction to later in 2016 would not give them time to have rooms available by the World Cup Finals, which were held last month on Aspen Mountain.

"The complex process and programming that is inherent to a project the scope" of W Aspen also was cited as a reason for the postponed development.

Washington, D.C.-based developer and Sky Hotel owner Northridge Capital, which is working with Aspen developer John Sarpa on the project, secured land-use and design approvals from the City Council in early 2015. The project calls for tearing down the existing 43,605-square-foot, 90-room Sky Hotel at 709 E. Durant Ave. and replacing it with a hotel more than twice its size at 91,500 square feet.

An application for a building permit puts the development cost at more than $56 million. The developer has yet to obtain a building permit but is in discussions with the Building Department on a near-weekly basis, said Garrett Larimer, the city's lead permit coordinator.

The development firm and Sarpa declined an interview request last week, but Northridge Capital President David W. Jackson said in a prepared statement, "All of us associated with the Sky Hotel are aware of the community interest with regards to the timing of the W Aspen project. What we can share at this time is that preparations to commence the project are proceeding appropriately and we will announce specific development dates as soon as possible. We will not make any further comments beyond this statement. We will reach out immediately when we have additional specifics to provide."

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A federal labor law known as the WARN Act requires employers to notify its workforce of mass layoffs. On Feb. 5, 2016, the Colorado Department of Labor received notification that Sky Hotel would be laying off 91 employees because of the expected closure due to the redevelopment.

As of Friday, the labor department had no records of a closure of Sky Hotel, which remains under the management of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.

The Aspen resort would be W Hotels & Resorts' first alpine hotel in North America. W Hotels, which is geared toward a younger, hipper set, is a luxury-hotel division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, based in Stamford, Connecticut. Starwood merged with Marriott International in September.

Plans call for 104 rooms, which include 11 fractional-ownership units, along with a rooftop patio bar with a pool and hot tub, fire pits, a dance floor, a cabana and panoramic views of Aspen Mountain, among other features.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com