Smith withdraws Crystal Palace offer | AspenTimes.com

Smith withdraws Crystal Palace offer

John Colson
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Developer Pat Smith has walked away from the purchase of The Crystal Palace, leaving longtime owner Mead Metcalf without a buyer.

Smith, whose Related WestPac firm is developing the Base Village at Snowmass, announced plans in August to buy The Crystal Palace. They were scheduled to complete the due-diligence phase of the transaction on Sept. 7, said Metcalf, who has owned the building and dinner theater business for 51 years.

The sale was scheduled to close Oct. 31, according to Karen Carner, Metcalf’s tenant in the adjacent Grande Finale building. However, the sale fell through last week, she said.

Carner, operator of Gracy’s secondhand clothing store, said she has paid her rent through the end of October and is not sure what will happen after that.

Metcalf, who reportedly was selling the property for more than $13 million, has been out of town and was not available for comment by phone. His office staff declined to comment. Smith could not be reached for comment either.

Carner said she was told the deal collapsed after Smith concluded that he would have a hard time winning redevelopment approvals for the property from the city of Aspen.

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It could not be determined whether Greg Hills, another developer whose firm, Austin Lawrence Partners, bid on the Crystal Palace property earlier in the year, would be interested in renewing his offer to buy the property for $13 million.

Metcalf said in late August that the deal with Hills originally had the building under contract at a price tag of $15 million. But Hills reduced the bid amount in July; Smith trumped Hills’ offer, and Metcalf accepted.

“Greg Hills came back with a negotiated price of $13 million,” Metcalf at the time, “and Pat Smith came back with a better offer.”

Metcalf declined to reveal the amount of Smith’s bid, and Smith’s representatives said at the time that there were no firm plans regarding the property’s future.

Smith’s acquisition of the Crystal Palace building would have marked the latest in a string of property purchases that began last year, when Related WestPac bought the now-under-construction Base Village property for $165 million from developers Intrawest Corp. and the Aspen Skiing Co.

The crown jewel of Smith’s local portfolio, Base Village has approval for 1 million square feet of residential and commercial space in Snowmass Village. The project is scheduled for completion in 2011.

Among Smith’s other acquisitions are the $9.9 million purchase of the North Star building on Main Street in Aspen in January, as well as the $22.5 million buyout of the Snowmass Mountain Chalet in April.

John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com