Smaller hotel back before City Council
Developers of the proposed Lodge at Aspen Mountain have again trimmed the size of the hotel in hopes of winning the City Council’s conceptual approval.The latest iteration of the plans also proposes another level of underground parking, creating 80 additional spaces that developers hope to sell or lease. Those revenues would offset what developers expect to lose by cutting back on the hotel’s accommodations. The project is scheduled for another council review on Monday.In the latest redesign, one of the 22 suites to be sold in fractional shares has been eliminated and two more employee housing units have been added, for a total of 16. The plans still include a mix of 80 standard short-term guest rooms and one-bedroom suites, and four free-market condos.”We think it’s a very persuasive project at this point,” said John Sarpa, project spokesman. “This is it.”This is the second time developers have gone back to the drawing board after council members praised the concept but panned the project as too large. Last month, the developers presented plans that represented a reduction of about 4,000 square feet and 11 feet of height, but council members still were not satisfied.The latest redesign reduces the size of the building by about another 5 percent, or about 9,000 square feet. It lowers the highest point of the structure by two feet, to 47 feet, in the section above the main entrance off South Aspen Street. It also drops a floor – and 11 feet in height – in a 50-foot-long section just east of the Juan Street affordable housing.City planner James Lindt, in a memo to the council, notes: “At this point, staff feels that the project is consistent in height and mass to many of the other lodging developments that exist and have been approved for development in the lodge district.”The Lodge at Aspen Mountain, though it includes some fractional units, presents the only chance for a pure hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain on the Shadow Mountain side, near the base of Lift 1A, Sarpa contends.Existing approvals allow the construction of 14 town homes plus employee housing there instead, if the hotel fails to pass muster with the council.Council members have indicated they’d prefer a hotel to town homes, though they appeared poised to reject it last month before granting Sarpa’s request for more time to tweak the plans.”With all that’s going on in town, we know we have a high threshold – why we should be allowed to build this,” Sarpa said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Colorado’s Western Slope is considered a climate hot spot where temperatures are increasing faster than the global average. This warming has contributed to more than 20 years of dryness, which scientists are calling a megadrought.